Rupturing the picture plane, rethinking materials

“PAINTING @ THE VERY EDGE OF ART,” an engaging exhibition at UConn’s Contemporary Art Galleries (CAG) on view through December 4, asks the seemingly perpetual question of what constitutes painting. The selected artists come up with compelling, idiosyncratic answers that curator Barry A. Rosenberg considers near the “edge” of the conventional art practice. For him, that word can have a number of meanings, but he is especially interested, conceptually, in the inventive and surprising use of materials and unexpected manipulation of the traditionally flat picture plane. Many of the artists in the show also propose challenging new definitions for painting that are rooted in process.

[Image at top: Installation view, “PAINTING @ THE VERY EDGE OF ART” at CAG, University of Connecticut.]

 Cordy Ryman is �a rigorous formalist whose work gathers energy through its subversion of the rigors of formalism.� Using scraps of painted wood, Ryman cobbles together two of his signature abstractions for the show.

 Donald Moffett incises holes into laminated wood supports and then covers the surface with prickly, extruded paint.

 Guillermo Pfaff’s brightly painted stretchers are visible beneath the transparent linen stretched across them.
 Julia Dault confines a vividly colored gestural painting with an overlay of black geometric squares cut out of a black leather-like material.  The New Yorker wrote earlier this year that “the unapologetic beauty of Dault�s work trivializes the pretensions of
the so-called zombie formalists, giving painting for painting�s sake a
good name.” 

 Jason Middlebrook works with trees, painting bold geometric patterns on slices of tree trunks.

 Liza Lou works with a Durban collective of African women to make glass bead strips, which she edits, assembles, and has woven into a shimmering material that is stretched across steel stretcher bars.
Arranging traditional materials in unpredictable ways, Dianna Molzan references fashion, decorative
arts, ceramics, and design. 

PAINTING @ THE VERY EDGE OF ART,” including Julia Dault, Liza Lou, Jason Middlebrook, Donald Moffett, Dianna Molzan, Guillermo Pfaff, Zak Prekop, Cordy Ryman, and Mika Tajima. Curated by Barry Rosenberg. CAG, University of Connecticut Art Department, Storrs, CT. Through December 4, 2015.

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Painting? Painting?
Miami, Part II: Heather Leigh McPherson Reports on NADA

Speculating on Zombie Formalism



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