Numbers, Colors and Text: Works from the Collection
When a theory on art hardens into a manifesto it most often marks the death knell of the work itself. If theories are adhered to with such fervor that intuition and serendipity are lost from the process we are left with a hollow representation of an idea rather than a vibrant expression of visual discovery.
The artists presented here have not fallen prey to their theories, rather they use them as tools to discover what cannot be preconceived; they allow the expression to reveal itself through the process of physically creating the work.
The foundation of this exhibit is the work of Alfred Jensen, an artist with a wide range of theories and interests. Jensen studied ancient Chinese calendars, numerology, prisms and the edges of light as it is turned to color. As Professor Michael Leja says in his accompanying essay, "Jensen affirms that his works are aesthetic objects, not scientific notations; they are intended to have a direct, visceral impact on the viewer." Here is where the viewer is asked to abandon all notions of theory and let the work speak for itself.
Two artists presented in the lower Rose are Josef Albers and Jasper Johns. Albers, our preeminent color theorist, is known to many as the artist who developed the idea of "Soft Edge-Hard Edge," the concept of discerning between color that is actually presented vis-a-vis color that is perceived. Johns' use of numbers and letters combined with his exquisite mark-making creates a delightful tension; that balance between the organic evidence of the hand and the mechanical structure of the text.
Exhibition curated by Roy Dawes, July 22, 2009- September 25, 2009.