The line is among the most elemental marks in art. It often serves as an artist’s starting point, the gesture that begins their process of altering the blank support before them with imagery. But for contemporary artists Patrick Carrara and Inger Johanne Grytting, the line is not only the building block but is the focus of their works, as well as the vehicle through which they express their innermost states and explore their relationship to the larger world. This fall, Muriel Guépin Gallery brings together their new works in “Patrick Carrara and Inger Johanne Grytting,” an exhibition that encourages viewers to look at—and beyond—the line.
“My artworks are like diary entries of psychological states,” explains Grytting. “The process is a probing inwards, where emotions and insights are translated into graphic expressions.” She begins her drawings and paintings by laying out a set of self-imposed limitations, which are impossible to follow precisely. They often center upon her execution of a multitude of repeating, parallel lines, organized into tight columns. When producing these lines, she is aware that the movements of her hand are inherently imperfect, impossible to fully control, subject to the vagaries of her thoughts and emotions. She embraces these inevitable deviations. Recalling the austere, repetitive compositions of Agnes Martin or Yayoi Kusama, Grytting’s works, like the oil-on-canvas painting M-29 (2014), appear highly controlled yet remain loose, their rhythmic regularity constantly interrupted by the artist’s hand.
Carrara also considers his work to be diaristic. Referring to his process of building up his drawings line-by-line, he states: “By constantly reproducing the same pattern I’m just doing what we are doing every day in our own life, repeating the rites … Consequently, I usually call my work on paper the ‘book of my life.’” The exhibition includes a selection of his ink-on-Mylar drawings, among them A 164-104 (2014). Though it initially appears as a black square, light and a closer look reveal a myriad of delicate lines running through the ink, resolving into exquisite geometric patterns. Carrara transfers his lines to three-dimensions in his new “String Theory Sculptures” series. In these works, he uses black thread to lash together clear sheets of Plexiglas, crafting representations of things that cannot be seen by the naked eye: the structure of matter, energy, and light, and our connections to these phenomena.