This show includes paintings from 2012-2016 that continue the artist’s deep-rooted investigations of perceptual ambiguity and the nature of illusion.
Born in Oakland, CA in 1927, DeLap has long been a fixture of the West Coast art scene. He has taught and mentored such California art luminaries as Bruce Nauman, John McCracken, and James Turrell. Along with John Coplans, DeLap was a member of the founding arts faculty at the University of California, Irvine when it opened in 1965. That same year, he was cited in Donald Judd’s seminal essay Specific Objects, which discussed the tendency among artists in the 1960s to work in the space between painting and sculpture.
As a trained magician, spatial enigmas and the use of illusionism have been at the core of DeLap’s practice since the beginning of his career. While it shares some visual similarities and ideals with Minimalism, Op-Art, and Constructivism, Delap’s work defies fixed categorization with its tension and variety, due in no small part to his background in architecture, illustration, and graphic design. As Barbara Rose wrote in her 2014 essay Now You See it, Now You Don’t, “there really is no such thing as a ‘typical’ DeLap work, only typical DeLap visual reasoning.”(1)
Although these recent paintings follow a logical trajectory from his earlier work, they display a more subtle approach to his longstanding concepts. Working with shaped aluminum platforms that DeLap specifically and precisely mills prior to wrapping with linen, the hard-edged geometric imagery functions to create volume while still maintaining an acutely flat surface. The artist’s measured use of saturated color, which interacts with the natural linen and the shadows created by the distance between the pieces and the wall, produces a complex and seductive visual experience that oscillates between painting and object. In each instance, these works investigate how the interaction of geometric shapes can create dimensionality and movement on a static plane.
DeLap has exhibited extensively since 1963. His work resides in the permanent collections of the Tate Modern (London), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), and the Musée cantonal des beaux-arts de Lausanne (Lausanne), among many others, and has been included in such landmark exhibitions as The Responsive Eye (1965: Museum of Modern Art, New York), Primary Structures (1966: Jewish Museum, New York), and American Sculpture of the Sixties (1967: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles).
Tony DeLap will be on view at Franklin Parrasch Gallery, 53 East 64 Street from July 6—August 5. Summer gallery hours are 10a-6p, Monday through Friday. For images, biography, and further information, please contact Katharine Overgaard at email@example.com or at 212-246-5360 during business hours.
(1) Rose, Barbara, and Tony DeLap. Tony DeLap: Painting, Sculpture & Works on Paper: 1962-2013. Santa Fe: Radius, 2014. Print. 42.