The Architecture of Line

21 Nov 2016 — 28 Jan 2017 at Jason McCoy Gallery in New York, United States

14 DECEMBER 2016
Sol LeWitt, Model for Irregular Tower (vertical bricks) #1, 1997. Courtesy of Jason McCoy Gallery
Sol LeWitt, Model for Irregular Tower (vertical bricks) #1, 1997. Courtesy of Jason McCoy Gallery

Jason McCoy Gallery is pleased to present The Architecture Of Line, featuring works by Richard Diebenkorn, David Hockney, Donald Judd, Frederick Kiesler, Sol LeWitt, Masayuki Nagare and Leon Polk Smith. Comprised of works on paper and sculptures, this installation explores the impact of architecture on art, both in regard to the artist’s use of line and the consideration of the surrounding space.

Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) - Diebenkorn's Ocean Park series, begun in 1967 and developed for the next 18 years, is considered his famous body of work. Based on the aerial landscape and perhaps the view from the window of his studio, these compositions are named after the community in Santa Monica, where he worked. A lifelong admirer of Matisse and Mondrian, Diebenkorn infused his sensibility of color, light and landscape with a keen interest in architectural structure. He stated: "I would like the colors, their shapes and positions to be arrived at in response to and dictated by the condition of the total space at the time they are considered."

David Hockney (B. 1937) – Architectural structures and details inform many of Hockney’s compositions. When he first visited Los Angeles in 1963, for example, he took interest in the integration of the swimming pool as a day-to-day pleasure and in the two decades to follow made iconic works of this (to him) unfamiliar element to domestic life. Populated or not, his personal interpretations yielded a new diaristic vocabulary to picture making. Years later, he reflected: “LA was the first city I ever painted. I started painting the architecture. I started painting the palm trees. When I first came to LA I much preferred it to New York because I preferred the horizontal — because I’m a bit claustrophobic I think."

Donald Judd (1928–1994) - One of the leading representatives of American Minimal Art, Judd aimed to create works that could assume a direct material and physical presence, unaffected by philosophical statements. Beginning in the early 1970s, his work increased in scale and complexity. He started making room sized installations that transformed the act of viewing into a visceral, physical experience. Meanwhile, Judd's interest in architecture and design led to a body of furniture, including chairs, beds, shelves, desks and tables. In an essay first presented as a lecture at the Yale University School of Art on September 2O, 1983, Judd wrote: "Proportion is very important to us, both in our minds and lives and as objectified visually, since it is thought and feeling undivided, since it is unity and harmony, easy or difficult, and often peace and quiet. Proportion is specific and identifiable in art and architecture and creates our space and time."

Frederick Kiesler (1890-1965) – The Austro-American artist Frederick Kiesler envisioned an interdisciplinary combination of theory and practice. He worked in a variety of fields, ranging from visual art to architecture, design and theatre. His vision of a biomorphic, freely flowing, continuous, human-centered living space, which he called the Endless House, is considered to be one of the most radical concepts of Modernist Architecture. Dating back to 1922, the Endless House was to synthesize painting, sculpture, architecture, and the environment in order to establish a space, which was without a sense of boundaries. Kiesler continued to develop this theme in his architectural designs and sculptures until the end of his life. Describing his idea of the house, he stated that it was to be "endless like the human body—there is no beginning and no end." He further remarked: “Life is short, Art is long, Architecture endless.”

Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) - In 1955, Sol Lewitt worked for the renowned architect I.M. Pei as a graphic designer. His experience in the architecture firm influenced not only his work, but also his approach to making art. His wall drawings, works on paper and sculptures relate to architecture in process. He famously stated: "An architect doesn't go off with a shovel and dig his foundation and lay every brick. He's still an artist." For most of his works, LeWitt employed assistants to construct the work according to his instructions. The latter were both specific and open-ended so that the resulting work of art varies according to the interpretation made by the draftsperson producing the work of art. In addition to a selection of LeWitt’s works on paper, this installation also presents the artist’s monumental Irregular Tower (vertical bricks) #1 (1997) by displaying its 1/10 scale studio model. The 19 feet sculpture was featured at the 47th edition of La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy that same year.

Masayuki Nagare (B. 1923) - Nagare explores the great cultural and aesthetic changes that have impacted the Japanese landscape in the 20th Century. His works maintain a firm connectedness to the Japanese sensibility, reflecting a modernist aesthetic that transcends cultural identity. Along these lines, he is strongly influenced by Shintoism, Zen Buddhism, and traditional Japanese martial arts. His principal stone-carving techniques include warehada ("cracked skin" or "broken texture"), in which the surface is left rough, with visible chisel marks, and shinogi awase ("ridges joined together"), which describes the meeting of two highly polished surfaces. Nagare's site-specific works have entailed a large variety of architectural settings. His public commissions include Cloud Fortress, installed at the World Trade Center Plaza in New York City (now destroyed), Sakimori, installed in the Honolulu Museum of Art, Hamaritsurin Garden in Seto Ohashi Commemorative Park (Kagawa Prefecture, Japan), Transcendence, installed in A.P. Giannini Plaza in San Francisco, and Bachi (two sculptures), installed at the Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, New York.

Leon Polk Smith (1906–1996) – When reviewing the artist’ retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum in 1993, New York Times critic Holland Cotter praised the “mysterious, extra-architectural presence” of Smiths’ work. Born near Chickasha, Oklahoma, Smith grew up among American Indians of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes. When he moved to New York in 1936 to attend Columbia University, he became deeply impacted by the city’s unique scale and configurations. Influenced by Mondrian’s oeuvre, Smith’s geometric abstractions reflect his love for New York’s unique architectural landscape, its immense buildings and interspersed cavernous spaces. He advised: “Draw on both sides of the line, not just what you're enclosing. The shape you're making on the outside is as important as the one you're making on the inside.”