Joshua Liner Gallery is pleased to present Delineation, a group exhibition featuring the work of contemporary artists Johnny Abrahams, Samantha Bittman, Elise Ferguson, and Jason Middlebrook. An opening reception for Delineation will take place on Thursday, March 16, with the exhibition running through to April 15, 2017.
For this curated exhibition, the exhibiting artists navigate the possibilities of taking geometric abstraction beyond the pristine, conventional square canvas. By diverting from a mechanical and immaculate approach to these formal compositions, these artists explore various process driven methods to their abstractions that combine the formal with the organic. Through various applications and mediums including weaving, shaped canvas, wood, and plaster, the artists utilize their materials to create abstract work that is familiar but fresh. Their various mediums reveal impressions of the artist’s hand, uncovering a process that is intimate and handmade. In direct contrast to the historical tradition of Geometric Abstraction as a movement that is at times isolated and objective, the dialogue among these four artists explores process, the handmade, and the elegance found in imperfection.
Johnny Abrahams’ shaped canvases combine intricate line work, block colors, and negative space, to recreate digital imagery. His work transforms these electronic images into analogue objects. Although these paintings on the surface appear crisp and pristine, it is this act of taking intangible, digital imagery and translating by hand to the canvas that is integral to Abrahams’ process. The artist explains, “The intention of the works is not to simply replicate digital media, but rather to apply the virtual operations found in digital image making to the material form of paint as a means of commentary on painting’s concurrence with the information age.”
Continuing with bold patterned line work, Samantha Bittman’s intricate works are painstakingly produced by carefully applying acrylic paint over hand woven textiles on a floor loom. Each work is decidedly unique due to the tentative, experimental process of hand weaving, which produces an exclusive foundation for each painting that is original in its composition. In one work, hand woven red and white yarn is carefully sectioned and overlaid with paint, creating an intricate layering of patterns. Referring to her woven textiles as the support for the painting, this initial process ultimately informs the painted work that follows.
Using plaster on MDF, Elise Ferguson’s works play with concentric circles, radiating grids, and undulating patterns, that often times in their repetition, begin to resemble naturalistic elements, which are subtly referenced in their titles. The artist’s chosen medium of pigmented plaster trowelled on MDF, creates rich textured surfaces that possess a tactile quality and harness the appeal of the handmade. Through an abundance of layered applications of plaster, visible scuffs, and pencil markings from the artist’s methods, Ferguson embraces the imperfections of her medium as a driving force in her process, allowing its innate organic quality to flourish, simultaneously investigating the physical limits and capabilities of her medium.
Perhaps the most organic in the spectrum is the work of Jason Middlebrook. The artist creates painted abstractions upon cross sections of trees sourced from the Northeast. Following a three-year treatment process of the selected wood, Middlebrook’s tight fractal line work is laid out. Endless iterations of tight lines zig zag across the wooden surface, with the contrast in tonal arrangements creating an illusion of rich depth, receding to the edge of the cross section. Each work from Middlebrook is distinct, with the unique forms of the wooden cross sections often driving the direction of the painted compositions. This call and response relationship occurring within the artist’s process is integral to the outcome of these intricate works.