Kovachevich’s employment of material, process, installation, and performance engages with a variety of post-minimalist tendencies while also acting as a preface to the more recent paintings on view in the gallery. The paintings, while appearing to be botanical depictions, are in fact works of fiction; they have evolved from his diverse and complex practice, as well as from his own thoughts and reflections on art, life, science, and nature that range from the mundane to the philosophical.
The painting O, for example, contains three teal strokes of paint that sprout red, off-white, and pink growths. Tufts of blue at the top of each form resemble sea anemones or flower petals. Tiny crosshatch marks on the form at left summon the underbelly of a centipede, while a foreshortened clump of organic-looking material at right evokes fuzzy pistils or mitochondria. Per Kovachevich, his painted subjects are abstract, graphic symbols that echo the visual forms of “folded proteins, dreams, desires, neurotransmitters, ribosomes, hallucinations, mitochondria, oxygen, chemistry, sodium transportation, sex, evaporation, and grocery shopping.”
This dialogue with the natural world originates from Kovachevich’s earliest experiments in the studio. Since the late 1960s, Kovachevich has been making installations from readily available gummed paper tape. The paper reacts to its immediate environment by expanding and contracting, revealing forces that are real but invisible to us. Each stripe of tape hints at the ecology of the room, illustrated by gradual transitions from flat rectangles to cylinders and back again. They acknowledge aspects of the architecture of the room, the light, together with the esthetics of the materials and their form.
For this exhibition, Kovachevich has created several tape installations—some formatted pictorially, while others fit the architecture of the gallery. The sculptural effects of these artworks are revealed over an elongated period of time, testing the limits of perception as they transform, indexing the invisible.
The mutability of image, form, and material remains at the core of Kovachevich’s practice, supporting a link between past and present, subject and object, the visible and the invisible, stillness and motion, the rational and the irrational, the abstract and the represented.