The artists in this exhibition all draw from the visual vocabulary of Minimalism in their use of industrial materials, deliberate restriction of form, and engagement of physical space, but do so in order to communicate social, political, and cultural meaning in a way that the 1960s movement always resisted. Through painting and sculpture, each artist transforms this typically self-referential genre into one that speaks as loudly as narrative imagery.
Teresita Fernández (b. 1968, Miami, FL; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) creates vast abstracted landscapes of minimal color and form that attempt to capture how we experience our surroundings, and how we define our environments in relation to identity and citizenship. For this exhibition, Fernandez will present 3:37 p.m. (2001), a wall installation composed of hundreds of acrylic cubes in seven colors of the light spectrum, a reductive representation of a rainbow captured at a specific moment in time, 3:37 p.m. Fernández’s work is characterized by an interest in perception and the psychology of looking, so she encourages the viewer to conjure up his or her own personal associations with the landscape, which in turn become part of the meaning behind the work.
Jeffrey Gibson (b. 1972, Colorado Springs, CO; lives and works in New York) assimilates influences such as indigenous art and craft, politics, music, fashion, urban subculture, and art historical references to create paintings, sculptures, and beaded tapestries infused with layers of historical, social, and formal content. The six works included in this exhibition are comprised of elements of geometric abstraction and Minimalism, phrases appropriated from popular song lyrics and social movements, and materials such as beads, metal jingles, sinew, and animal rawhide. Gibson, who is of Choctaw and Cherokee heritage and grew up in major urban centers around the world, draws on these influences in his work to subvert and complicate assumptions about both Native American art and identity.
Shirazeh Houshiary (b. 1955, Iran; lives and works in London) makes paintings, sculpture, and animation that seek to challenge viewers’ perceptions of time, space, and materiality. This exhibition will feature two works by Houshiary: Sheer (2012), a sculpture made from aluminum bricks, and Meander (2016), a pencil and pigment work on canvas. Both works are structured around the “rules” of Minimalism—the reduced color palette, the use of industrial material, the restriction of form, and the engagement with physical space—but they prioritize the viewer’s individualized, sensorial, and intellectual experience. Although constructed according to a predetermined set of conditions, Sheer takes on an organic shape as it twists and grows, creating a sense of movement and fluidity that is antithetical to the material. In Meander, Houshiary uses language as the foundation of her gestures, layering contradictory Arabic phrases such as “I am” and “I am not,” until they become illegible. Provoking a variety of nonverbal and visceral associations, Houshiary’s paintings invite viewers to consider the significance and meaning of each individual gesture.