Senior & Shopmaker is pleased to present: Josef Albers and Robert Mangold: The Essence of Form, a survey of selected prints presenting the artists’ work in dialogue. The exhibition includes examples of Albers early monochromatic woodcuts and lithographs from the 1940s and selected Homage to the Square screenprints from his iconic series. Among Robert Mangold’s works on view are early “X” and “+” screenprints dating from 1981, the elongated rectangles of the Frame series from the mid 1980s, and examples in aquatint and woodcut from his architectonic Column series.
Josef Albers was among the most innovative printmakers of the twentieth century, making use of numerous print media, including etching, engraving, woodcut, lithography and screenprint. Mangold, whose first prints date from the late 1960s and for whom drawing is a central endeavor, has similarly incorporated printmaking as an integral component of his practice. Both artists have explored, in the form of serial or related images, the relationships of constructed geometric form and the enlivening impact of color on these compositions.
Josef Albers, a founding member of the Bauhaus and chair of Yale’s Department of Design from 1950 to 1958, had retired before Robert Mangold’s enrollment in 1960 in the school’s graduate painting program, but his influence pervaded teaching methodologies in succeeding years. A visionary educator, Albers’ emphasis on the experiential nature of art-making rather than the final product, and the primacy of discovery over theory, had a lasting impact on generations of students including Mangold. The latter, whose early interests lay more in the abstract expressionist paintings of the New York school and the work of Jasper Johns and Rauschenberg exploding on the New York art scene, acknowledges an increased recognition of Albers’ theories in his work of the 1970s, and his investigative approach to color and form can be traced to Albers’ early influence. Common threads that link the printed work of the two artists are ineffable color combinations, a selective use of surface texture, and geometric forms governed by an architectural logic of construction as much as by abstract formal principles.