Barbara Mathes Gallery is pleased to present Liminal Focus, curated by Jesse Penridge. The exhibition brings together artists of the last fifty years whose work denies singular categorization. In objects and images that straddle the worlds of painting, sculpture, and photography, these artists work to challenge our assumptions and understandings of terms such as design, fine art, architecture, craft, and poetry.
This exhibition will explore the nature and implications of definitions as they relate to the artists’ practice: do terms such as ‘painting’ or ‘craft’ play a necessary role in artistic production? Do they provide artists with useful barriers to push against or, do they simply pigeonhole and limit? In what ways do such precise labels help or hinder both maker and viewer?
Liminal Focus surveys the boundary-breaking works of Carla Accardi, Lee Bontecou, Terri Friedman, Jessica Rankin, Jessi Reaves and Robert Bittenbender, Mariah Robertson, Lenore Tawney, and Claudia Wieser. Though associated with various movements and generations, the artists presented here have contributed to the evolution of their discipline by subverting the expectations of their media. That is to say, Tawney’s Drawings in Air (1997-98) up-end the notion of drawing as a two-dimensional practice while Accardi’s Bianco Nero su Turchese (1960) appropriates the visual language of calligraphy and symbology, while uniting the disparate worlds of design and abstraction. Refusing to conform to narrow descriptors, the work presented in Liminal Focus undermines boundaries, forcing us to redefine our understanding of artistic disciplines.