James Fuentes is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Landon Metz. Marking his New York solo debut, this exhibition finds the artist looking to the gallery space itself as both vehicle and content, his ongoing explorations of serial composition newly translated through inventive strategies of presentation and scale.
Central to Metz’s practice is a deep interest in the material and immaterial functions of a studio-based practice: approaching each aspect of his process as a viable medium in itself, the artist produces lyrical, conceptually driven works whose content lies not only in the resulting objects, but also in the methods used to produce and present them. Most recently, Metz has explored these ideas in a series of serialized works rendered in colored dye on unprimed canvas, arranging duplicate compositions into elaborate sequences of ruptured, repeating motifs.
For his first showing with James Fuentes, Metz extends this project by turning his focus to the viewing experience itself. Installed sparsely along the perimeter of the gallery are a series of manually dyed canvases. Rendered monochromatically at a monumental scale, the paintings reinforce many of the artist’s longstanding strategies: a literal use of materials; the reciprocal functions of medium and ground; the willful offsetting of artistic intention with fluid techniques. Where previous works employed conventional supports, however, Metz has here, for the first time, fractured his imagery, isolating the painted forms into self-contained objects and doing away with the surrounding ground. Blocking the paintings to meet at the corners of the exhibition space, Metz recasts the gallery itself as the pictorial plane, the walls now effectively serving as “canvases” in a single large-scale composition.
Much like the works themselves, the act of viewing quickly becomes at once chronological and open-ended, the looped layout unfolding rhythmically, almost musically, as the viewer physically navigates the space. Despite the treatment and formidable scale of the canvases, their fragmented arrangements leave each composition materially unrealized, completed only through the viewer’s own perception. As a result, the layout draws focus to the ephemeral, perhaps unacknowledged aspects of the viewing experience – the viewer’s chosen path, pace and distance; the intricacies of the gallery’s architecture – while allowing the paintings themselves, ostensibly the show’s subject, to subtly recede, functioning now as implements in a much larger and more complex system. Offsetting authorial intention with subjective perception and peripheral incidence, Metz’s installation thus promotes a dynamic, embodied relationship between artwork and audience, the viewing experience shaped not as an act of mere reception, but of active, autonomous invention.
In implementing these new strategies, Metz confirms more literally what has long been a central idea within his practice: namely, the principle of interconnection, that condition by which perceived hierarchies between elements are leveled to reveal an underlying, reciprocal union. In this mode, though individual elements may be emphasized, each is at once defined and enhanced by its connection to a broader arrangement; while an item may offer its own points of interest, it must be viewed in context, as part of a larger set, for its function to be fully grasped. At once singular and correlated, subject and signal, the works on view deftly embody these ideas, activating the viewing process by reinforcing the corresponding roles of artwork, venue and audience alike.