RH Contemporary Art, a dynamic and immersive multichannel platform from RH (Restoration Hardware Holdings, Inc. - NYSE:RH), launches its first art gallery in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood with five concurrent solo shows of newly commissioned work by Nathan Baker, Toby Christian, Peter Demos, Samantha Thomas and Natasha Wheat. Opening November 9, 2013, and running until January 25, 2014, the five inaugural exhibitions highlight diverse artist practices, which incorporate elements of painting, assemblage, digital arts, sculpture and performance.
The five solo exhibitions inaugurating RH Contemporary Art’s gallery, located within a six-floor, 28,000-square-foot building at 437 West 16th Street in New York City’s Chelsea art district, each distinctly explore overlapping artistic concerns including: texture, surface, the balanced contrast of organic and industrial materials, and the performative act of creation. Together, the five formal and aesthetically pared-down shows establish a dialogue on the process-driven approach to an artistic practice.
Nathan Baker’s tightly interlocking modular compositions exploit the tension between control and chance. A departure from previous narrative series, New York-based Baker’s series of monochromatic works raises the fundamental question of the nature of image creation. He employs repetition, rhythm and the organic, accidental forms created by his body interacting with materials in order to wrestle with the intersection of painting, photography and performance. Created with materials that are used in both industrial and domestic settings – digital inkjet prints, tape, sandpaper – and shaped through a highly improvisational process, his abstractions embrace the absurdity of trying to make visual or logical sense out of the world we live in.
Toby Christian’s mixed-media floor pieces are created in direct conversation with his environment. His current series explores architectural forms based on the exploded geometric shapes found somewhere between the sole of a shoe and the repeating geometric patterns in ceramic-tiled floors or mosaics. Christian’s large wall-based panels, constructed with chalk, string and paint on board, connect his exploration of the relationships between objects and spaces to the transformative potency of text. The first participant in RH Contemporary Art’s ongoing artist-in-residence program, the Glasgow-based artist will be creating his works in New York prior to the inaugural November gallery opening.
Peter Demos’s luminous, large-scale abstractions are created through a deceptively complex blend of traditional painting and digital techniques. The New York-based artist’s meticulous layering of varying shades of black dyes creates hauntingly dense surfaces that shift subtly with the movement of the viewer. Through a careful manipulation of texture and tone, his paintings elicit a quiet consideration that is drawn as much from a careful observation of material and space as it is a measured optical illusion.
In direct response to her environment, Los Angeles-based artist Samantha Thomas’s manipulated canvases are topographical maps of sorts, reflecting her home city’s expansive system of freeways, sprawling urban landscapes and collision of man-made and natural features. By cutting, tearing and reshaping the canvas, and reworking it again with paint, enamel, sandpaper and thread, Thomas pushes the limits of both painting and sculpture in her series Landscapification. The resulting abstractions bring the flat, two-dimensionality of the traditional image into direct, three-dimensional proximity with the navigable landscape.
New York-based Natasha Wheat’s interdisciplinary wall-based works (she prefers the term sculpture rather than painting) reference Post-Minimalism, Color-field painting and geometric abstraction, yet defy definition or categorization within any single movement. In the series Field Without Color, she creates sensuous surfaces with solid blocks of monochromatic pigments and layers of delicate fabric. Her materials – carbon, bone char, graphite, and silk– straddle the line between industrial and organic, and evolve over time in reaction to the atmosphere. Wheat’s minimalist vernacular and precise yet subtle use of tone and texture resonate to create deeply personal pieces that evoke a sense of stillness and depth of space.
Debuting concurrently with the exhibitions, RH Contemporary Art will also present a series of original artist documentaries. The video series will be screened in the building’s lower level video room and will further explore each artist’s practice and inspiration.
Released with the launch of the platform, the premiere issue of the RH Contemporary Art Journal serves as an introduction to three of the artists in the opening exhibitions – Nathan Baker, Samantha Thomas and Natasha Wheat – along with two additional artists from the RH Contemporary Art program – Tom Owen and Jonathan Runcio. The Journal, which will be written by a roster of acclaimed curators, critics and artists, provides a further layer of investigation into the individual artists’ aesthetic approach and offers insights into their recent bodies of work through views of their process, studio spaces and their diverse range of materials.
RH Contemporary Art’s new Chelsea gallery is one element of a broader platform, which incorporates an online gallery, original artist documentaries produced by RH Contemporary Art, an ongoing artist-in-residence program and an art journal written by a roster of acclaimed curators, critics and artists. The space is the first of a series of galleries to open in select U.S. cities. A second RH Contemporary Art gallery is slated to open in Los Angeles in 2014.
RH Contemporary Art, a division of RH (Restoration Hardware Holdings, Inc. NYSE:RH), is a dynamic and immersive multichannel platform dedicated to bringing international artists and their work to a global audience. The program encompasses a distinctive online gallery featuring a series of artist documentaries, an art journal written by a roster of acclaimed curators, critics, and artists, and a gallery in New York City exhibiting works for sale. RH Contemporary Art offers a new way to view, learn about and acquire artwork.