In keeping with Magenta Plains’ ongoing interest in supporting and fostering intergenerational conversations, the exhibition presents three generations of New York artists and their work ranging from the early 1980s through the present.
Peter Nagy, Anne Libby and Barry Le Va share an affinity for psychic and physical explorations of architectonic space with reduced means and material. Adhering to a restricted palette and often forgoing color altogether, Nagy, Libby and Le Va use industrial materials as both form and content. Working within self-imposed constraints, these artists develop conceptual structures to engage the dialectic of order and chaos and the intersection of logical, technical systems versus the transient subjectivity of the viewer. Formal and conceptual links can be seen across each of their practices, a reminder that ideas are cyclical. This exhibition recognizes the lasting impression artistic influence can have on subsequent generations who, in turn, reinterpret these ideas in new and unexpected ways.
One of the leading figures of Post-Minimalism and Process Art, Barry Le Va’s influence on the trajectory of contemporary art cannot be underestimated. Part installation and part residual performance, Le Va’s "non-specific situations" push the limits of sculpture to the point of dematerialization. Utilizing commonplace and impermanent materials such as felt, steel, wood, dust, chalk, concrete and shattered glass, Le Va’s floor-based “scatter” compositions are pre-meditated through written directives and diagrams—traces of his process—which manifest as plan views, small-scale notations, collages, or mappings of bunkers used in military actions. For this exhibition, Magenta Plains will be presenting a selection of works on paper spanning 40 years which simultaneously portray an artist thinking through spatial problems as much as they posit and revise the layered, sculptural installations into dramatic, graphic form.
In the late 1970s when Peter Nagy moved to New York City to attend art school, Le Va was exhibiting regularly at Sonnabend Gallery and had held solo shows at the New Museum and the Whitney Museum. These exhibitions left a strong and powerful impression on the young artist. Nagy’s stark paintings and xeroxes of culture and architecture explored the invasiveness of corporate control, as seen both in cultural institutions and inside of our bodies. Many of his black and white xeroxes and paintings relate to floor plans of institutional spaces such as museums and corporations, foregrounding the labels and symbols of the specific locations to draw attention to the slippage between art and the context of its production and display. Magenta Plains will be displaying large-scale aluminum paintings from the late 1980s as well as a new sculptural installation in the window gallery at 95 Orchard Street.
In Anne Libby’s work, industrially manufactured products and materials such as picnic tables, venetian blinds and Japanese seaweed are appropriated and transformed into highly graphic, biomorphic forms that are at once minimal and muted, yet aggressively ornamental. Sculptures in wood, Formica, and glass are surgically calculated, produced meticulously from technical drawings which extrapolate found forms and textures.