Susan Schwalb and Julia Randall work with and on paper, both creating pieces that hover between modernity and tradition. Schwalb’s linear minimalism offers new interpretations of age-old metal-pointing techniques in works such as Polyphony VI (2013). Her shimmering abstractions, made with silver, gold, brass, copper, platinum, pewter, bronze and aluminum, have a unique luminosity and subtlety often achieved by using materials that oppose the strict linearity of metalpoint, including texturally torn or burned paper. Randall, working in colored pencil on paper, uses skillful draftsmanship to depict unorthodox subjects. Objects such as bubblegum morph into shapes resembling orifices or organs, achieving trompe l’oeil effects that are both beautiful and disturbing.
Sandy Litchfield and J. Ivcevich each rethink paper’s tactile application as a collage material. Litchfield examines and reconstructs her local Massachusetts country landscapes though fractured, phenomenological viewpoints. Working in layered compositions that bring together gouache, paper, archival inkjet print and collage, such as in Setting High Hopes (2014), Litchfield pinpoints the ineffable tone of a place and breaks down her surroundings to rebuild them. Ivcevich alludes to and rejects a contemporary city experience in works that he refers to as “urban archaeology.” Reappropriating paste-up subway ads, as in his Shred Mandala II (2013), he offers a counterpoint to posters and their attention-grabbing traditions. Instead, Ivcevich asks viewers to unplug and enter an inwardly focused meditative state while interpreting his Rorschach-like shredded abstractions.
Finally, Kate Carr and Marietta Hoferer consider paper and its historical significance as an inspirational tool, while depending on non-art items. Carr’s finely finished works are made with plywood and bright felt, but are in fact greatly inspired by the planes and angles of origami, evidenced in pieces such as Slant Fold 4 (2014). Hoferer’s works, obsessively made with varying types of everyday tape and pencil, are lacelike and expansive, highly planned but with personal touches. Both artists take the works of their minimalist predecessors—Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella , Dorothea Rockburne—and respond and expand on their frameworks, highlighting the importance of material innovation in the evolution of artwork.
Visit Garvey Simon Art Access will be at Art on Paper 2015, Booth #206, New York, Mar. 5–8.