Cuevas Tilleard Projects is presenting a two-person exhibition titled Aurora Concreta featuring paintings by Emily Kiacz and Maria Walker. By aligning Kiacz and Walker’s work with the Art Concreto Invención and MADI movement initiated in Argentina in the 1940s, the exhibition reveals the artists’ shared interest in reconsidering traditional conventions of painting to formulate an abstract visual language rooted in the concrete world.
Brooklyn-based artist Emily Kiacz makes paintings marked by an intrepid use of color, geometric forms and patterns, and non-conformist frames. Using acrylic and oils, she paints directly on irregular-shaped wood panels. In Aurora Concreta, Kiacz invites the viewer to contemplate the most basic aspects of painting – material and form. Articulated in broad brushstrokes, paint application varies throughout the composition. Some areas of the wood are fully covered. While in other areas, the paint thins out to expose under layers of color and texture.
When Two Worlds Collide, 2016 is made of two wooden planks, which measure 96 inches and are propped against the gallery wall. Contrasts within the piece are noticed immediately. The contours of the left plank are expressed through diagonals. The composition is dynamic, constructed through diagonally oriented forms, which are communicated with heavy outlines and fills of varying colors. The shape of the right board is much more basic with straight vertical edges. The static composition is articulated in rectangular blocks with heavy outlines and color fills. Tones are punchier with vibrant purples, pinks, and blues. Considering the title, you sense that the planks could stand for any of today’s groups in political or religious opposition. Spaceways, 2015 presents a t-shaped panel with a slight diagonal shift. It is dominated by a large central square diagonally sliced into a light blue and a green section. At the sides and top and bottom are four rectangles of starker hues. Look long enough and the variance in color mood produces a meditative effect.
Bronx-based artist Maria Walker plays with the conventional frame by altering stretcher bars under cotton fabric and turning canvases over so the back becomes the front. Her work explores the interaction of three main elements – wood, canvas, and paint – in an effort to find balance. Canvases are left unprimed so when the paint touches the cloth, it becomes part of the material.
Walker brazenly exploits the physical elements of painting in the work titled August, 2014 measuring 24.5 x 24.5 x 4 inches. As viewers, we get to see how an artwork is truly a sum of its parts. The composition is divided into positive and negative space. At the painting’s bottom edge are formless, saturated hues of purple and yellow. The rest of cloth has been left untouched to reveal the jagged wooden frame that dictates the work’s structure. Measuring 36 x 36 x 1 inches, the reverse painting titled Purple Weight: Mountain, 2014 considers the canvas’ back as the front. Unprimed drop cloth has been soaked in purple and blue pigment. This time, paint has settled on the fabric to suggest a triangle/mountain against a blue sky. Walker’s careful balance of formal elements creates a work that feels airy, bordering the sublime.
Aurora Concreta Projects engages two artists in a thoughtful dialogue about the history of painting and how the medium’s limitations and possibilities have shaped contemporary art practice. Through experimentation and play, Emily Kiacz and Maria Walker succeed in articulating a fresh perspective on the genre. Aurora Concreta will be on view at Cuevas Tilleard Projects through May 27, 2016.
Cuevas Tilleard Projects
142 Henry Street
New York, NY 10002
Writing by Catherine Murphy