Alexander Gray Associates at Frieze Seoul
Alexander Gray Associates presents a selection of recent and historic paintings, sculptures and works on paper by Frank Bowling, Ricardo Brey, Melvin Edwards, Harmony Hammond, Jennie C.Jones, Steve Locke, Betty Parson, Hassan Cherif, Valeska Soaresand Jack Whiteton. Continuing the Gallery’s commitment to spotlighting artists who challenge conceptual and formal conventions, the Gallery’s exhibition showcases innovative approaches to abstraction, materiality and representation.
For decades, Frank Bowling challenged the limits of abstraction. Bowling paintings like Worpswedevisit (green mansions) (1981) incorporate the autobiography and heritage of the African diaspora into their compositions through the use of swirling plumes of acrylic pigment whose earthy tones simultaneously suggest water and geological strata. A monument to the artist’s investigation of color and form, the strict formalism of Worpswedevisit (green mansions) is undermined by its title, which references a 1904 novel set near Guyana, his childhood home.
Melvin Edwards‘s sculptures like A sign of X (1984-1994) are emblematic of his ability to imbue salvaged industrial materials with complex cultural histories. Both a tribute to slain civil rights leader Malcolm X and a reference to the algebraic use of the “x” to designate the universal unknown, the work invites viewers to construct narratives around violence, grief and loss. African-American experience.
Ricardo BreyThe practice marries the complex visual and cultural vocabularies of her native Cuba with a deep and nuanced understanding of the historical canon of Western art. Embodying Brey’s assertion that art is a form of alchemy, Disturbing (2019-2020) brings together found objects like an ornate wrought metal wheel with a piece of rough stone, juxtaposing the natural with the artificial while simultaneously transforming both components into something distinctly new.
Harmony HammondThe recent works of de center around feminist and queer content with an emphasis on materiality and the indexical. Caterpillar #4 (2016-17) is part of an ongoing series of paintings by the artist that incorporate rough burlap and carnations into their construction. In these works, Hammond draws on craft traditions – “women’s work” – and modernism to create abstract canvases that she says “perform strangely” due to their use of “quasi-monochrome” colors.
Jennie C.JonesThe recent works of de expand his research on sound, visually illustrating sound experiences through innovative approaches to geometry, color and material. Corner phrase / soft measure (2020) breaks away from the flat plane of the wall to wrap around a corner, a gesture that underlines the objectivity of the work and further aligns its reductive composition with minimalism. As Jones observes, “There are social and political ramifications to rejecting the ‘subject’ and embracing the ‘object’ – as an African-American woman, much more is at stake. Minimalism becomes a radical gesture authorizing a refusal to sell my story or my bodies.
Steve Locke investigates themes of male desire, vulnerability and sexuality in his paintings. works like Cruisers #1 (2021) capture intensely intimate moments between gay men, overturning traditional representations of masculinity and challenging conventional understandings of portraiture. by Locke Cruisers emerge from the artist’s interest in, his words, “The exchange of glances, the privilege of looking and the desire to be seen…”
Betty Parson began creating abstract paintings in the 1940s. Deeply influenced by the natural world, Parsons used a purely associative mode of abstraction in her works on paper as a tool to convey how her surroundings made her feel, striving to capturing what she once described as the “pure energy” of a place.
Hassan sheriff was a pioneer of conceptual art and experimental practice in the Middle East. Begun in response to the rapidly changing landscape of material culture in the United Arab Emirates following its independence, his sculptural series of Objects (1982–2016) ‘weaves’ together local and imported materials to critically reflect on the rapid industrialization and burgeoning consumerism of the artist’s home in Dubai.
Valeska Soares rejects the need for monolithic storytelling in her works, choosing instead to provide people with what she calls “triggers that activate memories and contexts.” In Double-sided (Buff Titanium White/Sap Green) (2019), Soares unravels the disparate histories of art and objects by transforming a salvaged vintage oil painting into a contemporary work, the surface of which unrolls to reveal glimpses of hidden figurative elements.
Pioneer of abstract painting, Jack Whiteton pushed the boundaries of the medium through innovative materials, methods and processes. Single Loop: For Toots (2012) belongs to a series of late paintings by the artist that feature looping images and investigate the relationship between figure and ground. Titled in homage to the artist’s sister, Toots, whose favorite color was red, the work recalls the artist’s experiments in the 1970s with Xerox toner and its gestures. Slab paintings and Greek alphabet paintings from the same decade.
Together, these ten artists push the formal boundaries of their artistic practices, expanding the potentialities of abstraction, materiality and representation to create unique lexicons that convey personal and collective experience. As Soares reflected on his own deeply personal method, “the only way to engage is to disconnect and create my own symbology and marks, creating a different language. . . . It’s always interesting to me how I manage to here. How can I be able to speak in this particular language of mine? »
Frieze Seoul | Booth C18
Public days: September 3 to 5, 2022
COEX | 513 Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, 06164, Seoul