As early as the 1940s Lucio Fontana began puncturing his canvases and, by doing so, opened up a dialogue about the dimensional possibilities of painting. Though his famous series of slashed canvases (“Tagli”), made in the 1950s and 1960s, were initially seen as violent reactions against painting, the artist maintained that he used the knife in order to create, not destroy. It is this spirit of dissolving boundaries and creating new genres that unites the group of contemporary artists presented together by McCabe Fine Art. Following in Fontana’s footsteps, while each taking his or her own distinct path, Nicholas Hlobo, Dianna Molzan and Blair Thurman, blur the lines between painting and sculpture. In doing so, these artists broaden the definition of both practices.
American artist Dianna Molzan’s work raises the question of whether one can (or should) distinguish between painting or sculpture, or, as she convincingly suggests, an artwork can be both at once. In addition to slicing open her canvases like Fontana, Molzan has also unraveled her support material to create netting and stuffed it like a sausage. In the untitled work on view, Molzan isolates an area of blank wall in gallery behind an empty frame which she has wrapped in canvas and painted pink. This modified frame is simultaneously a painting and a sculpture. However, despite the transgressive undertones of this work, many of Molzan’s paintings also fit traditional criteria of paintings: they are rectangular, framed, and hang on the wall.
When working on canvas, South African painter and sculptor Nicholas Hlobo sews onto his support using materials that include ribbon, rubber, and leather. Adding texture and color to blank canvases, Hlobo creates subtle topographies that suggest organic forms ranging from snakes and vines to tresses and tentacles. Weaving in and out of standard-format rectangular canvases, Hlobo’s “ribbon paintings” bring ornamentation to Fontana’s original puncture by incorporating colours, textures, and narrative.
Hung on the wall like traditional paintings, American artist Blair Thurman’s Pop-inspired acrylics are abstractions based on real-world objects. What makes these works hard to classify, however, is that his paintings of objects can also be described as objects themselves. His large, odd-shaped canvases—hexagons, triangles, circles—feature surface cuts through which the wall behind is clearly visible. Like Molzan, Thurman incorporates the wall—the real world—into his compositions and, in his own way, liberates painting from its traditionally rectangular dimensions. Refuting illusionism and insisting on reality, all of the works in this show take painting into the third dimension.
ABOUT MCCABE FINE ART
Noted art advisor, dealer and collector Paul Frank McCabe opened McCabe Fine Art in Stockholm, Sweden in April 2013. An extension of his twenty years of art market experience and connoisseurship, the beautifully renovated showroom in central Östermalm presents works by modern and contemporary masters. Through a program of curated, thematic and monographic exhibitions, McCabe Fine Art brings new voices to Scandinavia’s dynamic international art scene.