Joshua Liner Gallery is pleased to present Recollected Forms, a three-person exhibition featuring the work of contemporary artists Matthew King, Kevin Umaña, and David Ellis. An opening reception for Recollected Forms will take place on Thursday, April 26, with the exhibition running through to June 2, 2018. Artists will be present for the opening reception.
For this curated exhibition, the artists navigate the possibilities of mining the pictorial language of 1960s Modernism, through personal and contemporary lenses. Many of the forms and compositions recall mid-century Minimalism, Hard-edge painting, and modernist architecture with its utopian ideals of living. Through various applications and mediums, including wood, aluminum, acrylic, resin, and collage, these artists utilize their materials to create works composed of simplified forms that defy the easy categorization of painting or sculpture. In direct contrast to the historical traditions of these 1960s art movements, which leaned towards the isolated and objective, these three artists create a dialogue through their work that brings memory, nostalgia, and landscape to the forefront of their practice.
Matthew King creates three-dimensional objects that are at once sculptural and painterly, employing techniques specific to hard-edge painting and collage. King takes formal directives from architecture, building infrastructure, and road signs, among other things. The birch assemblages function both as pictures and sculptures, always insisting on their dual spatial presence and painterly illusion. The artist’s hand can be seen in these clean, bold geometric shapes and dynamic optical patterns, yet as applied with a brush, they remind us of the artist’s hand at work.
King’s ambivalent relationship to the conventions he inherits is most evident in his collaged aluminum panels. In this series, King paints bold zigzagging planes of color onto Mad Men-era magazines and advertisements, which he selects for their print aesthetic, ubiquity, as well as glorification of the modern past. While his older collages explored uniquely American themes, such as exploration and conquest, rugged individualism, and competitive sport, these new works take a surreal turn, depicting empty landscapes and open spaces.
Similar to King’s approach, Kevin Umaña uses geometric forms and hard-edge lines to explore space. Taking a “mathematical approach to modernity, particularly in the use of color and form,” Umaña exemplifies this in his constructions inspired by aerial views of European parks and playgrounds. In addition to these geometric forms, Umaña here presents a new body of work from his “Bridge” series, inspired by these man-made infrastructures from cites that have inspired the artist over time. The artist states, “For this series, I focused on certain properties of a bridge and broke them down into simple components, re-arranged them and transformed them into a new geometric configuration.” Umaña combines flattened shapes and patterns, deconstructing the bridges into idealized compositions that preserve cherished memories of locations, such as Copenhagen, Iceland, Montreal, and Brooklyn. Their final surfaces and patterns resemble complex woven textures. From afar, both bodies of work appear smooth and pristine, however, up-close they are raw and textured, calling attention to the materiality of the paint and canvas.
Perhaps the most nostalgic in the spectrum is the work of David Ellis, who will showcase recent work from his “Recollection” series, constructed from album covers, wood, and resin. Ellis’ “Recollections” center around beautiful and pristine gradients, like Song About You, the largest “Recollection” to date, while other new works explore a smaller range and depth that exists within simpler spectrums. Ellis fossilizes the past, encasing the vintage record albums in a glossy layer of resin, exploiting Minimalism’s application of simple geometric forms, seriality, Gestalt theory, and sleek exterior, while simultaneously adding history and memory by implementing found objects. Born in 1971 in Raleigh, North Carolina, Ellis’ oeuvre continues to interpret music and sound in a wide range of mediums, such as painting, kinetic sculpture, and time-lapse video. Ellis’ “Recollections” are held in international collections including those of Charles Saatchi, The Margulies Collection, and The Deutsche Bank Collection.