Featuring the work of Hanne Darboven, Barry Le Va, Dorothea Rockburne, Fred Sandback, Alan Saret, and Keith Sonnier, the exhibition takes a fresh look at a group of artists who are variously associated with the Minimalist, Postminimalist, and Process art movements. Focusing chiefly on works on paper – some of which are working drawings for sculptures or installations, others that are finished works in themselves – the presentation explores these artists’ relationship to interior and architectural space.
Works in the exhibition by Hanne Darboven (1941-2009) and Fred Sandback (1943-2003) convey Minimalism’s emphasis on seriality and geometric forms. Darboven, who lived most of her life in Germany, spent a brief period of time in New York in the late 1960s, where she formed close friendships with Lawrence Weiner and Sol LeWitt. Darboven’s 10. Variante from 1975 – a 15-part work comprised of ink on silkscreen and printed paper collage – features arcs and boxes, using Minimalist language to visualize the passing of time.
The term Postminimalism was coined by the art historian and critic Robert Pincus-Witten and refers to a reaction by American artists against the closed forms of Minimalism. Foregrounding an interest in process, this tendency introduced a human element and level of expressiveness not typically found in Minimalism. The works of Barry Le Va (b. 1941), Alan Saret (b. 1944), and Keith Sonnier (b. 1941) all share an affinity for unusual materials, calling into question previous conceptions of sculpture. Le Va, in his earliest works, experimented with felt, glass, and chalk; Sonnier with latex, video, and neon; and Saret with wire clusters. Their drawings open up radical new possibilities in sculpture and provide a limitless structure for articulating ideas about space.
Throughout the 1960s Dorothea Rockburne (b. 1932) was involved extensively with dance and mathematics, which remained influential throughout her career. A show in 1970 at Bykert Gallery in New York marked her return to object making, at which point her practice became rooted in an interest in mathematical concepts. Her attention to linear and geometric forms links Rockburne to the Minimalist artists, while her use of unconventional materials such as crude oil, grease, and tar connects her to questions of process as she explores structural procedures for converting mathematical concepts into physical space.