♢ EDITORIAL by Sal McIntyre, New York ♢
When it comes to outfitting a space with art, whether working in a small entryway with an abundance of activity or perhaps an expansive minimalist open style loft, it is worth capitalizing on the major architectural elements that are already present— as they constitute the foundation of the character. Finding a way to compliment the architecture, and in particular the geometric forms, lines and shapes that exist, can work wonders to ground and mitigate the overall personality, while allowing the more decorative and changeable elements to flow through comfortably at their own leisure and pacing. Furthermore, architecturally conscious art can highlight some of the best features of the space, amplifying its inherent grandeur.
Even if all one has to work with is rectangles, the sun travelling in an arc across a room may create subconscious curves or interesting angles that are perhaps echoed in furniture, fixtures or even the footpaths walked to get from one side to the other. It is possible that a space is only as confined as one imagines it to be.
Modernism and surrealism were both art movements home to some of the most inventive yet timeless abstract works— ones rich in temperament whilst distinctive with simplicity, as seen in Antoine Pevsner’s Musee National D'Art Moderne, a 1957 stone lithograph, or Max Ernst’s Galleria Iolas.
Geometric typography and play with shapes are what make some works sing, such as Marta Hoepffner - Eugen Batz Exhibition by Nicolaus Ott, a 1981 stone lithograph, or The 10th New York Film Festival by Josef Albers, a signed 1972 silkscreen. The verticality of these two would dramatize tall ceilings instantly by drawing the eye upwards.
Picasso’s Table with Bottle, a 1955 Mourlot stone lithograph is a stylized and chic delineation, the cut crystal edging of an alcohol bottle shining as one of its best features, and hinting at a sort of casual glamour. And Ubac’s DLM No. 196 Cover, a 1972 stone lithograph is both meandering and sophisticated, playful and serious all at once.
Curious and humorous graphic designs are conceptual, abstract, mathematical and clever, allowing for an aesthetic both minimalist and hip, with a distinctively light-hearted tone. MG-Posters Wulff, a 1967 stone lithograph by an unknown artist, and Advertisement News (Mainosuutiset) by Lasse Hietala, also a stone litho, could work as a compelling pair.
More experiments with geometry and form, while featuring just a few choice colors, make for streamlined expressions that can accentuate with their directness— and add interest one level at a time. Look to works like Charles Hinman’s International University Choral Festival, a signed 1965 silkscreen, Marleen Deceukelier’s Drawing Dietmar Guderian Leibniz, Newton and Displacement, a 1992 stone litho, John van Hamersveld’s Design Support, a 1980 stone litho, or an exciting Untitled work by an unknown artist, a 1975 stone litho with a signature nonetheless.
Robert Indiana’s 1997 ‘American Dream’ silkscreen portfolio houses some wonderfully bold, dramatic and alluringly architectural works that would add sparkle as well as stability to any space, while also being highly sought after collector’s items. Decade Auto-Portrait (1969) and the signed Highball on the Redball Manifest both maintain that classic modernist appeal reminiscent of the historic work I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold painted by Charles Demuth in 1928.
And more works combining shape and typography in interesting ways conjure moods of their own while advancing through space with a settling predictability that can effortlessly sway with the existing tides. The mysterious Japon, a signed stone lithograph by another unknown artist, Neil Gower’s Renault Automobiles, a 1986 silkscreen, and finally the well-known Nord-Express by A.M. Cassandre, this print an accessible 1995 stone lithograph restrike, recreated by master engraver Yannick Sabathier and printed at the Atelier Mourlot for Graphique de France in a small edition size of 1000 using the same antique flat bed presses used by Cassandre in the early part of the 20th Century to print the original works.