We all know that art can change your life, but what about helping to save it? A new report has found evidence that the arts bring a wide range of health benefits, speeding medical recoveries and improving overall quality of life. Released last week in the U.K., “Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing” details numerous instances where the arts offered medical improvements for those of every age. That includes art therapy (which reduced agitation in those with dementia) and music (lullabies were seen to calm the heart, lessening the hospital stays for newborn children in neonatal intensive care).
“Fecund Algorithms,” an exhibition of works by artist Joan Waltemath (b.1953) started on April 5 and will run through May 13, 2017 at Anita Rogers Gallery, New York.
The selection of works on display features new paintings from the artist’s ‘Torso/Roots’ series. The new paintings by Waltemath were created with a range of unique materials including oil, graphite and various metallic and fluorescent pigments on aluminum panels, many of which took years for the artist to complete.
The artworks deal with the complex and inextricable relationships between the human body and the mind, the physical and the spiritual and art, architecture and the natural world. Due to the reflective and absorbent nature of the pigments used in the paintings, new details can be observed when viewed from different perspectives at different times of the day, hence every interaction with one of the panels is a new experience.
Sharon Butler of Two Coats of Paint Interviews Joan Waltemath
In “Fecund Algorithms,” a solo exhibition of new paintings and diminutive sewn-canvas works, Joan Waltemath diverts gently from the quiet perfection of her previous work to embrace small accidents and contingencies. On view at Anita Rogers’s new light-filled second-floor gallery in Soho, Waltemath’s work looks exquisite in the elegantly appointed room, which boasts Greek columns and a long wall of oversized windows facing Mercer Street. Her pristine surfaces and cleanly delineated lines have become scruffier, less refined, and, arguably, more satisfying. A slightly less rigorous approach has yielded interesting insights about spontaneity, uncertainty, and impermanence.
In a conversation at the gallery, I asked the artist about the smudges, scrapes, corrections, and brush strokes that were visible on the surfaces. Waltemath shrugged, suggesting that she feels more comfortable than she used to in leaving residue and mistakes that reveal the process. Elements that she might have corrected or erased now strike her as telling records of the challenges and decisions most painters of geometric shape have to address, concealed or not. Even the tiny black and white pieces made of canvas scraps sewn together by utilitarian machine stitching have an offhand air that evidences Waltemath’s seasoned eye and hand. The painted lines and sewn pieces are not perfect, but here that’s a gift: within essentially mechanical forms, the quirky inconsistencies provide a frisson of humanity.
The paintings, Waltemath told me, also explore the mysteries of human interaction and memory. Lines and shapes painted in subtle ranges of white (impossible to apprehend in JPEG format) deftly organize and occupy the two-dimensional surface of her panels. Upon longer observation, they seem to move, advancing and receding, and creating three-dimensional forms with shifting spatial relationships. From this perspective, Waltemath sees an analogy in the way friendships and other alliances evolve, expanding, contracting, and sometimes reemerging over time. Certainly Waltemath’s new work artfully and unobtrusively, yet very assuredly, reveals its creator’s encounters, thoughtfully marrying content, form, and process.
Zeal NYC Recommends Joan Waltemath’s Exhibition
Art Break Downtown:
Where: Anita Rogers Gallery, 77 Mercer Street, #2-N
When: Now through May 10, Tue – Fri: 10-6, Sat: 12-4
Who: Joan Waltemath: Fecund Algorithms
What: Abstract paintings based on harmonic mathematical relationships
Why: The relationship between math and art is stronger than you might think
Fecund Algorithms [at Anita Rogers Gallery] introduces a new collection of paintings in a range of unique materials including oil, graphite, and various metallic and florescent pigments on aluminum panels, many of which take years for the artist to complete. Titled with anagrammatic terms, the series Torso/ Roots grapples with the complex and inextricable relationships between the human body and the mind, the physical and the spiritual, and art, architecture and the natural world. The pieces, at once bold and rich with subtleties, are vertically structured and based on a grid derived from harmonic mathematical relationships. Due to the reflective and absorbent nature of the pigments the artist chooses, new details emerge from the works as they are viewed from different perspectives and at various times of day; in this way, every interaction with one of the panels is a new experience. The works demand a physical reaction from the viewer, keeping them consistently aware, awake and engaged.
Upon entering the open space of the Anita Rogers Gallery you are greeted with rectangular aluminum canvas’ that immediately draw your eye and are painted like multi-paneled grids. The subtly decadent, organized planes of color and texture serve as visual offsets and underline the surrounding architecture of the Anita Rogers Gallery. Both the rigorous lines of Piet Mondrian’s seminal paintings and the tempered emotive undertones of Agnes Martin’s work come to mind.
Waltemath’s paintings do not assault the space but complement and summarize it. The canvases’ precisely organized colors and textures create a prevailing mood of a restful oasis. The sumptuous dilapidation of the gallery walls and fixtures enhance this mood. On a recent trip to Washington D.C. surrounded by historic monuments and nature I felt the same sense of peace and contemplation. These paintings provide the mental space to think, contemplate, and consider. The rigidly organized lines and colors force the consciousness inward or similarly condense the surrounding space and architecture onto a single plane. As such the paintings are correspondingly simple and complex.
Juxtaposed to the paintings are smaller textile pieces Waltemath considers her “rest” pieces intended to break up the complexity of the paintings and provide an inviting tactility. The soft construct of these pieces provide a nice counterbalance to the paintings and provide a narrative as to how Waltemath may have arrived at her painting techniques. While it is my belief that good painting often deceptively hides the evidence of time, the textile pieces through their meticulously attended stitching, provide not only a rest for the eye but also a welcome relief in the revelation of the lovely preciseness, rigor, and disciplined labor that underpin the paintings on view.
Rather than lines that recede into the paintings at an angle creating the illusion of depth what happens(West 1 1,2,3,5,8…), creates a conceptual understanding of space through horizontal lines. Comparing Waltemath’s paintings in relation to depth, you could say that the amount of uninterrupted open space in what happens(West 1 1,2,3,5,8…), creates a greater depth than Waltemath’s interwoven (East 2 1,2,3,5,8…), which fragments and stratifies its plane. One could say then that these paintings act as windows or looking glasses to greater expanses, however what is depicted is an interior world, both of the viewer and the paintings’ surroundings. Another noteworthy element of the paintings are the specific materials used, graphite, zinc, bronze, lead, that bring to mind layered geological formations or the raw material of industrial spaces. Indeed taking the first analogy, one could analyze her paintings as cross sectional slices of stone compressed and combined with a richness of pure and impure minerals. These windows and geological slices attune the viewer to an interstitial space and perhaps a pataphsycial belief that all will work out as it should.
Opening April 5 at Anita Rogers Gallery, “Fecund Algorithms” is the latest solo exhibition by Joan Waltemath. Grappling with the complex and often contradictory relationships between the body and mind, the artist’s abstract paintings look to mathematical equations for their harmonious and inventive grid-based compositions.
Waltemath is not only an artist, however: She is also known as an influential educator and a writer, having taught architecture for years at Cooper Union and serving as editor-at-large for the esteemed Brooklyn Rail since 2001. Here, she discusses her new work, the beauty in mathematics, and what to expect at her show.
What inspired you to create the Torso/Roots series?
I am intrigued watching people perform tasks they know by heart, observing movements that seem to stem from the corporeal, rather than being directed by the mind. I want to create something that speaks directly to the body that touches our movement in the way architecture does. The more all our devices assert their dominance over the mode of our communications, the more compelled I feel to explore the multi-faceted nature of perception. How the body knows things, remembers a thing is my tabula rasa.
SOHO — Anita Rogers Gallery: “Joan Waltemath: Fecund Algorithms”
April 5 through May 10, 2017
Opening Reception: Wednesday, April 5, at 6 p.m.
Joan Waltemath’s solo exhibition “Fecund Algorithms” at Anita Rogers Gallery will feature new paintings from her “Torso/Roots” series. The paintings, many of which took years to create, are made out of materials such as oil, graphite and metallic and fluorescent pigments on aluminum panels and were structured on harmonic mathematical relationships. Titled with anagrammatic terms, “Torso/ Roots” grapples with the complex and inextricable relationships between the human body and the mind, the physical and the spiritual, and art, architecture and the natural world.
Joan Waltemath, a New York-based painter, has shown work in New York, Chicago, Portland, Baltimore, London, Basel and Cologne and is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Hammer Museum and the Harvard University Art Museum, among others.
The collision and/or communion between repetition and randomness in the visual world is a perpetual source of interest for me. Just as what is regarded as “standard” I think of as being too formally familiar. Dichotomy and conflict create inventive dialectic. There is in this world a ubiquitous visual paradox which is a constant source of creative potential. As Oscar Wilde accurately put it: “The true mystery of the world is the VISIBLE not the INVISIBLE”. I wish to go there for a language. – Gordon Moore
The collision and/or communion between repetition and randomness in the visual world is a perpetual source of interest for me. Just as what is regarded as “standard” I think of as being too formally familiar. Dichotomy and conflict create inventive dialectic. There is in this world a ubiquitous visual paradox which is a constant source of creative potential. As Oscar Wilde accurately put it: “The true mystery of the world is the VISIBLE not the INVISIBLE”. I wish to go there for a language.
Anita Rogers Gallery is thrilled to present an exhibition of new works on canvas and photo emulsion paper by the American painter, Gordon Moore. The exhibition will be on view February 15 – April 1, 2017 at 77 Mercer Street #2N, New York, NY.
In this exhibition Moore’s current work continues an interest in the dialogue he has developed over the past decade between the spontaneous flow of painterly liquids and the specific structural framework of his abstract configurations. The esoteric nature of abstraction offers an unlimited potential for invention. Using photo-emulsion paper as a ground for drawing, Moore embraces and encourages the imperfections inherent in the interaction between developer and emulsion. This in turn nurtures Moore’s large scale works on canvas which explore a similar approach to depth, dimension, balance and asymmetry. Moore’s pieces are exercises in asymmetrical equilibrium that challenge the viewers’ natural perceptions. The collection of works on view here are thoughtful meditations on connections and alignments – on the interaction between flatness and depth, deliberation and spontaneity, the real world and the painted world and finally between abstraction and figuration.
Born in Cherokee, IA, Moore received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1970 and then went on to receive his MFA from Yale University in 1972. He has received numerous awards and grants including the National Endowment for the Arts-Visual Artists Fellowship, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in Painting, the Adolph and Ester Gottlieb Foundation Award in Painting, the Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. Moore’s work can be seen in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), Yale University Art Gallery (CT), Baltimore Museum of Art (MD), General Electric Corporation (OH), the Krannert Art Museum (IL) and Kinkead Pavilion (IL).