“The Fragment/Recollection/Disappearance/Addition/Contrast/Weight and Shadow/The Fugue
are all explored within the space of a square – beginning with square one.”
- Wendy Mark
NEW YORK June 11 - Jill Newhouse (www.jillnewhouse.com) is delighted to present a multi-media exhibition of new work by Wendy Mark from October 1st to November 15th at her gallery at 4 East 81 Street, in New York.
BEGINNING WITH SQUARE ONE is Wendy Mark’s latest creative expression, exploring the use of squares as grids, frames and space, and as active participants in the construction and deconstruction of images. The multi-media exhibit of work, including Mark’s monotypes, watercolors, mirror paintings, photographs, books, and small objects, alongside a site specific installation by award-winning architects AGENCY, underscores the artist’s interest in collaboration, which infuses every one of her projects with special meaning and finds new forms for their realization. Each piece in the show explores and elaborates the theme with different material and optical techniques, engaging the viewer in a range of relationships to imagery and space.
Language, and forms of prose and poems, have always been at the center of Wendy Mark’s work. Mark explains how each piece contributes to the syntax of her shows and her entire body of work. Working to both refine each image, and collections of images arranged in a grid, Mark explains, “each image is like a line of a poem, a segment, or verse of meaning. These series of image/lines make up the poem which is the whole piece, composed of this row or row of images.”
BEGINNING WITH SQUARE ONE draws on rich conceptions of drawing and translation methods throughout art history, while extending known methods into surprising new modes of output. Recurring images of dots and clouds fill the space in gridded compositions and in collections of squares and frames. Mark adds, “the idea of permutation – of how images refer to and impress meaning on each other -- is important to me. The graph and the Renaissance cartoon are both influences on these images of dots and clouds, not in terms of transference maps, but in terms of translation and graphed points of reference.”
Certain pieces in the show engage the viewer and the space of the gallery in contributing to the construction of the work. Collections of dice present disassembled vignettes of larger images in the show on their faces, inviting viewers to assemble three-dimensional reconstructions of the printed images.
“The viewer,” Newhouse points out, “is asked to respond and, with Mark’s dice, as in game theory, the viewer may rearrange these pieces of 9 or 12 or 100, as they desire: to make their own configurations.”
BEGINNING WITH SQUARE ONE includes the result of a new collaboration, a site specific installation for the Jill Newhouse Gallery based on the spatial implications of Mark’s monotypes. Designed and fabricated by AGENCY (www.agencyarchitecture.com), a collaborative interdisciplinary practice engaging contemporary culture through architecture, urbanism, and advocacy, the architects explore resonances between digital processes and material artifacts shared in their work and the work of Wendy Mark.
AGENCY principals Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller, winners of the 2010-11 Rome Prize in Architecture, explain, “we are transforming a confined gallery space to create the illusion of weightlessness and surprising depth, translating and decontextualizing Wendy’s clouds into a richly textured, multi-dimensional, optical and spatial manifold. The installation, which we call ‘CloudSpace’ intensifies the unexpected depth of space and light one is faced with upon encountering Wendy’s clouds, immersing the viewer in a specially constructed and choreographed environment. A multi-directional mass-customized screen acts like a room-sized lenticular lens, capitalizing on generative digital design tools and fabrication technologies to create multiple new and complex readings of the image. Viewers become complicit in the construction and deconstruction of spatial images as they move through the space, revealed through constantly shifting perforations, opacities, and reflections generated by different viewing angles.”
“Our goal,” the architects explain, “is to translate the scale of the artwork into a three dimensional spatial experience for gallery visitors, who will be reflected in the infinitely expansive environment, captured in the seemingly weightless clouds. The installation gathers three-dimensional data through the systematic indexing and transformation of color and value and then articulates Mark’s vision in a vertical, optical, topography.”
Newhouse adds that, “when you visit the gallery you will see how well Wendy Mark and AGENCY have exploited similarities between Mark’s material-intensive monotype process and AGENCY’s virtual analytic and constructive techniques -- by breaking down Wendy’s clouds into a series of progressive spatial matrices.”
BEGINNING WITH SQUARE ONE includes several visual and intellectual reference points for the observer. “The connection to the history of cloud painting is inherent in this installation,” Mark writes. “My clouds are not taken from the real clouds in nature; I do not paint from Life. These image/clouds are a reinterpretation of the clouds in paintings from the Renaissance painters. I am looking at the clouds of Pontormo, Mantegna, and the skies of the Dutch landscape painters as well.” She writes that “my clouds are a riff on these early skies. At the same time they refer forward to computer generated dots and information diagrams.”
In the catalog for the show, Wendy Mark says, “one idea is to use scale to reinterpret the Renaissance Landscape: You have to Zoom IN through a small window/frame/turn on the screen.”
Mark’s work has captured the attention of major collectors as well as notable museums and institutions. This is Wendy Mark’s second solo show at the Jill Newhouse gallery, which showed Wendy Mark monotypes in an October, 2011 exhibition titled “Drive.” It is the twelfth solo show for the New York-based artist known for her collaborations with writers, composers, and choreographers.
Wendy Mark began her career as a writer and received her MFA from the poetry division of Columbia University School of the Arts. She writes, “reading poems and fiction is intrinsic to my life as well as my work as a painter.” Limited edition books are part of her many solo exhibitions. She has repeatedly sought to infuse her work with thought-provoking words and images, forging successful creative collaborations with Pulitzer Prize-winning poets Mark Strand, Charles Simic, Paul Muldoon and David St. John, and writers such as Adam Gopnik, Louis Menand, and the Spanish writer, Javier Marias.
In an essay by The New Yorker art critic, Adam Gopnik, on Mark’s ‘Clouds’ he asked, “is there possibly the hint of a television screen in her squared off formats?”
Wendy Mark has had numerous solo exhibitions and her monotypes were included in the historical exhibition at The Smithsonian Institution “Singular Impressions: The monotype in America.” Other museum shows include The Lyman Allyn Museum in CT., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC and The Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan. Her prints and books are in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Morgan Library, The Spenser and Berg collections at the New York Public Library and numerous other museums. She is among the twenty artists cited by Thomas Hoving in his article in Cigar Aficionado, "Twenty Artists Who May Be the Picassos and Monets of the 21st Century."
Hoving, the former Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was among the first to applaud Mark's monotypes. In his catalogue essay for her show, "A New Shade of Blue" at the Lyman Allan Museum he writes:
Her latest works demonstrate a further maturing of her subtle skills and are all about contradictory sensations – the ephermal in her pieces, some deliberately murky thoughts as well as crystal realities. Super evocation! In every work there’s a masterful combination of delicacy and force and weightiness and light-as-air freedom. It doesn’t matter what the work is, every resplendent one crackles with energy and drama and embodies a simply astounding sense of release and celebration.
Paul LeClerc, the former President of The New York Public Library, says of her work in his essay for Mark's exhibition, The Steamroller Project, a large scale monotype made in Central Park:
One finds, I think, in nearly all of her work something akin to Baudelaire’s ‘Invitation to the Voyage,’ where Mark invites us to join her in venturing into new, seductive, and mysterious landscapes, filled with the arresting colors of Turner or the nuanced palate of Stieglitz’s ‘Equivalents.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Charles Simic, writes in his introduction to their collaboration limited edition book, Wendy's Pinball, published by Glenn Horowitz Bookseller:
One only needs to divide a blank piece of paper with a line of the horizon and the imagination starts working. Soon there are fields and clouds; there is a solitary tree, the changing light of the day and the seasons with their colors. Wendy Mark’s monotypes remind us of those moments when we make our world larger by meaning.
Jill Newhouse says, “Wendy Mark’s art transforms traditional, classical imagery and makes it current. The skies and clouds of Constable and Turner become the dots and grids of the 21st century.”