DISRUPTING THE GRID: Selections from the Kentler Flatfiles
Curated by Hannah Israel
February 10 - March 24, 2024
Curator’s Talk & Opening Reception: Saturday, February 10, 4-6pm
Artists: Golnar Adili, Mildred Beltré, Barb Bondy, Beth Caspar, Sabine Friesicke, Takuji Hamanaka, Richard Howe, Erick Johnson, Jane Lincoln, Arezoo Moseni, Margie Neuhaus, Susan Newmark, Carol Prusa, Viviane Rombaldi Seppey, Donna Ruff, Claudia Sbrissa, Audrey Stone
Disrupting the Grid: Selections from the Kentler Flatfiles
Disrupting the Grid: Selections from the Kentler Flatfiles features a curated collection of contemporary artworks on paper from the Flatfiles of Kentler International Drawing Space. The chosen works present an in-depth exploration of themes that defy the conventional definition of the grid. The participating artists in the exhibition embrace, reject, and reclaim the grid, providing innovative perspectives that challenge and alter our traditional understanding, ultimately offering fresh ways of perceiving the world.
Throughout centuries, artists primarily employed the grid to attain proportional precision. However, it was only in the 20th century that the grid itself became the focal point of artistic exploration and investigation. Artists elevated this form from a concealed framework to a noteworthy feature deserving of attention. The flatness of the grid eliminated a sense of reality and narrative—a welcomed departure for mid-century artists adhering to the stringent principles advocated by critic Clement Greenberg. Disrupting the Grid goes beyond the confines of traditional drawing, presenting a compelling collection of works that challenge, question, and redefine the grid’s role as an artistic expression.
In the context of a grid, Golnar Adili meticulously explores language and memory within a structured framework. The deconstruction of the letter and the subsequent mapping of the "ye's" onto a grid reflect an organized and systematic approach. The strict parameters governing the construction and placement of the characters further emphasize the adherence to a grid-like structure, highlighting the intersection of personal expression and the ordered nature of the artistic process.
Jane Lincoln’s exploration of color takes on a structured yet expansive quality. Its boundless aspects become organized within a metaphorical grid, providing a framework for the limitless combinations found in her abstract prints. Each piece serves as a unique cell within this color grid, systematically uncovering the nuanced and diverse attributes of color while revealing unexpected revelations in the process.
Erick Johnson's artistic approach employs irregular polygons within a relaxed grid-like structure to generate compositional ideas through drawing. The irregular polygons, arranged within this framework, create a dynamic and organized visual grid.
By employing simple numeric sequences and planar geometric shapes, Beth Caspar generates complex patterns. While not a conventional grid, the use of these elements establishes repetition and an arrangement that creates a visual grid-like framework. The intention to produce seemingly chaotic yet coherent and stable patterns through a minimal visual vocabulary adds another layer to the structure.
Arezoo Moseni’s drawings, driven by geometry, chemistry, and motion, can be conceptually linked to the idea of a grid using interconnected tetrahedrons inspired by scientific concepts. While not a traditional grid, the arrangement and interconnectedness of these geometric forms create a structured framework within her work. The use of inks, photographic sensitizers, and red wine adds another layer to this conceptual grid, reflecting Moseni’s affinity for living organic materials. The choice of materials contributes to the dynamic interplay within the grid, symbolizing the intersection of artistic expression and organic elements.
Richard Howe employs the grid to manifest the ambiguous relationship between order and chaos, a central theme in John Cage’s theory and practice. The grid serves as a structured framework within
which Howe explores the dynamic interplay of elements. The grid, in this context, becomes a visual language that articulates the intricate relationship between the page and the marks.
Claudia Sbrissa’s layered drawings explore relationships between architectural structures and mark making to further illustrate the beauty and wonder of the everyday world. She gives shape to familiar experiences through her methods and materials.
Mildred Beltré’s approach is reminiscent of a grid where each pixel serves as a unit within the larger composition. Drawing inspiration from diverse sources such as West African iconography, political movements, planar geometry, plant growth, and sports, her playful abstract constructions aim to articulate relationships in the world as they exist and as they could be.
Susan Newmark’s sculptural drawings synthesize social causes and abstract elements with paint and found papers. She grids layers of woven cut papers that reveal dense webs of vision and reflection of the present climate crisis.
The gestures of line and space contribute to a structured framework within the sculptural drawings of Margie Neuhaus. The physicality of line, when considered collectively, can form a grid-like pattern that defines the composition of her artworks. The revelations through materiality and process further contribute to the dynamic interplay between elements.
Donna Ruff's burned text can be conceptually connected through the formal elements of delicate structures. The burning creates a lattice-like pattern that is reminiscent of grids. The intentional play of light and absence in the work addresses themes of loss of understanding between cultures, utilizing the intricate plexus to convey complex narratives.
Viviane Rombaldi Seppey crafts complex collages by incorporating maps and phonebooks. Utilizing collected objects, she captures the elusive meanings associated with places, languages, and diverse ways of seeing and thinking. The amalgamation of numbers in her drawing using cut phone book pages, takes on a formal quality resembling “abstract” images and landscapes. The grid serves as a foundation for this transformation, lending coherence to the diverse elements within the artworks.
Audrey Stone's subtle patterns employ an optical rhythm through her meticulous mark making. Stone's use of repetition creates a visual grid that parallels the nuanced shifts in nature, providing a structure for the exploration of emotional and sensory experiences.
Takuji Hamanaka's exploration of windows introduces a thematic grid of colorful rectangular outlines against a beige background. The repeated shapes transmit movement and light to further contribute to the idea of a dynamic grid, where the interplay of colors and shapes symbolizes the interaction between public and private spaces.
While Carol Prusa manifests a comprehensive understanding of the world through her silverpoint dome drawings, she engages with contemporary physics theories and liminal spaces. The conceptual grid emerges as she navigates the complexities of these theories, incorporating sculptural forms and new technologies.
Barb Bondy’s Deep Seeing drawing series explores the relationship between making, viewing, and perceiving artwork. Ambiguously referencing visual information commonly available to the public, the
drawings aim to evoke familiarity and curiosity, encouraging close observation and cognitive entanglement with the artwork. Like a microchip, the grid in Bondy’s work becomes a way for viewers to navigate and engage with the cryptic visual framework.
Sabine Friesicke’s artistic process offers a unique perspective on the perception of time. It employs a temporal grid and a rhythm synchronized with a metronome where each second is marked by a line on the drawing. The cessation of ink application due to the diminishing liquid in the brush introduces interruptions and gaps creating a visual representation of emptiness and pauses in the flow of lines.
The grid serves as a tool for comprehending and navigating our existence, symbolizing control, stability, and order. Functioning as an unseen framing device, it permeates our surroundings to such an extent that its presence is frequently overlooked. Yet, when artists deliberately highlight the grid, its multifaceted meanings come into full view.
- Hannah Israel is the Gallery Director for the Norman and Shannon P. Illges Gallery at Columbus State University, Columbus, GA.