DON’T LOOK NOW: NEW PAINTINGS BY PHILIP HINGE, OTHER ROOMS: NEW PAINTINGS BY NEW YORK ARTIST JULIAN JACKSON, AND PLASTIC: GROUP EXHIBITION OF ACRYLIC SCULPTURE FEATURING WORK BY SANFORD BOND, CHRISTIAN HAUB, DOREEN MCCARTHY, AND REGINE SCHUMANN AT THE PAGE BOND GALLERY FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 2015.
The Page Bond Gallery is pleased to present Don’t Look Now: New Paintings by Philip Hinge, Other Rooms: New Paintings by New York Artist Julian Jackson, and Plastic: Group Exhibition of Acrylic Sculpture featuring work by Sanford Bond, Christian Haub, Doreen McCarthy, and Regine Schumann, Friday, March 6, 2015 from 6 to 8 PM. The exhibition will run March 6 to April 4, 2015.
At the core of VCU alumni Philip Hinge’s work is a carefully constructed tension between surface value and content. At first glance, vibrant colors and patterns, energetic brushstrokes, and idiosyncratic modes of representation lend his paintings a lighthearted, humorous appearance; yet the content, which tends to be more disquieting, is at odds with this bright, playful exterior. Contextual ambiguity abounds in Hinge’s work, allowing his paintings to express a subtle anxiety that is felt rather than seen. At the same time, by ironically appropriating sources as diverse as everyday kitsch, science fiction, and the canons of art history, Hinge lampoons widely-accepted tropes of high art. Focusing on subjects conventionally associated with “bad taste,” his work critically examines the invention and perpetuation of such categories.
Predominantly made up of perpendicular lines and color fields, Julian Jackson’s recent abstract paintings strongly evoke architectural spaces. The persistence of right angles and grids creates the illusion of structural soundness and solidity. These paintings continue Jackson’s longstanding investigation—prompted by his childhood encounter with the indecipherable poiuyt figure in MAD Magazine—of complex spatial ambiguity. Asymmetrical layers of overlapping rectangles and uncontained edges prevent Jackson’s arrangements from settling into fixed, logical constructions. Instead, they open up into a series of shifting planes suspended in flux. The perplexing nature of the compositions does not preclude viewers’ connection and involvement with them. Rather, subtle juxtapositions of cool hues and layered planes imbue Jackson’s works with a sense of rhythm, simulating the experience of movement through space. “That experience of built space fills these paintings,” he writes. “We spend so much of our lives looking out of windows, passing through doors, moving down hallways, and always there is the play of planar space as simple movements translate into subtle shifts of light, line, and surface.” Thus, on one level, visual ambiguity operates in these paintings by representing humans’ perpetual movement through the spaces they inhabit. On a deeper level, the ambiguity offers an admission of impermanence, expressing Jackson’s realization that “the one constant in life is change and constant restless forward motion.” Paradoxically, then, these subtle compositions evoke a sense of clarity, encouraging the calm acceptance of transition as the catalyst of life.
Although Christian Haub began his career as an abstract painter in the 1980s, he is best known today for his vibrantly colored acrylic “Floats.” First debuted in 1990, the Floats derive their name from the way they appear to magically hover over the walls that support them. Haub creates these sculptures like playful collages, cutting and moving the colored planes in experimental arrangements before fixing them into asymmetrical, rectilinear forms. Upon installation, he turns to light—both natural and artificial—to maximize his works’ chromatic possibilities. The intersecting pieces cast colored shadows across each other and onto the wall, while the varying opacity and thickness of the acrylic slabs further intensifies the works’ dynamic luminosity. These Floats spotlight the interaction of color, light, and surface, since the refracted hues surrounding the objects are as much a part of the artwork as the objects themselves. Haub notes, “When my wife, Vera Miljkovic, photographs them she has the problem of where to focus. There is the physical surface of the plastic, and then there is the colored light cast behind it on the wall…. [Y]ou look both at and through the works.” With his Floats, Haub has managed to transform store-bought sheets of plastic into ineffably glowing, multifaceted, and polychromatic works of art.
Radiant, translucent, and ethereal, Regine Schumann’s acrylic sculptures seem to illuminate from the inside out. In daylight, each work possesses a self-contained luminosity due to Schumann’s strategic combination of transparent and opaque materials. Alternatively, in the presence of black light, the artist’s use of phosphorescent paint comes alive. Schumann does not merely brush phosphorescent pigments onto her sculptures; she integrates them into the panels themselves during manufacturing. This process allows the colors to change, surfaces to “dissolve” into glowing outlines, and entire rooms to transform with the flick of a switch. The vibrant sculptures produce such an intense aura that the atmosphere itself becomes part of the artwork. More than just physical objects, the sculptures are about engendering dynamic spatial experiences. “Three-dimensionality…plays a big role, aimed at getting the observer fully integrated into the works,” Schumann writes. “Doing this creates different sensations within the viewer: they are drawn to rethinking the colors they see, and prompted to reinterpret their own feelings and impressions.” Schumann’s enchanting sculptures turn gallery rooms into emotive, almost transcendental environments that reflect on the relativity of perception while exploring the wonders of color and light.