Locks Gallery is pleased to present Shape Paintings, featuring Jennifer Bartlett, James Havard, Ralph Humphrey, Elizabeth Murray, Joanna Pousette-Dart, David Row, Frank Stella, and Richard Tuttle. This exhibition brings together works that span several decades of painting – challenging the traditional, rectilinear, sharp-cornered canvas to create a playful evolution of color and form.
In 1964, Lawrence Alloway organized the seminal exhibition –The Shaped Canvas at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Through their experimentation, the artists shown questioned the distinction between painting and sculpture – flatness and dimensionality. They created works that embodied the experience of the world in tandem with the viewer. It was a way to reconsider the relationship between wall and ground while honoring the nature of the continuous surface – a meditation on the act of painting.
Each of the artists in Shape Paintings explores their own relationship to surface and object. Richard Tuttle and Ralph Humphrey emerged from the first generation of artists who questioned traditional rules of painting through a consideration of how one should experience form. Humphrey’s critique was based on the expressive potential of the shape, while Tuttle examines the formal elements in his experimentation and use of everyday materials. James Havard – a pioneer in abstract illusionism, demonstrates a unique visual plane, utilizing spray paint on an unconventional painting surface – plastic. Elizabeth Murray’s works are frenzied cartoon-like shapes while Joanna Pousette-Dart’s paintings contain subtle layers of line and color on
floating curved wood panels that suggest forms in motion – “line moving through light” and what Dart calls a “visceral interchange with nature”. David Row constructs sharp angled irregular canvases that also appear to be moving fragments of a whole, while Jennifer Bartlett continues to follow her counting grid system in a cascade of colored dots across large geometric shapes.