Liza Bingham | Robin Dash | Katherine Desjardins
Jean Knapp | John Roy | Diane Teubner
Sept 8 - Oct 27
Reception: Saturday, Sept 15, 4-6
Un Cochon de Métier is an exhibition of the work of six artists with roots in the Boston area, who take highly individual paths to explore the joys and vexations of abstraction in painting. The exhibition, curated by artist Monique Johannet, features works ranging from the mid-twentieth century to the present day.
Un Cochon de Métier loosely translates as “a pig of a profession”, and was a phrase used by Jean Knapp (1927-1993), one of the exhibition’s artists. It suggests that painting is a practice that is equal parts frustration, dedication, fondness, and humor.
Jean Knapp’s color-drenched and poised compositions vividly embody the stubborn resilience of both painters and painting itself, and the enduring vitality of geometric abstraction.
Traces of gestural, geometric and organic abstraction surface in the work of Robin Dash. These are handled with both respect and irreverence in her paintings, which balance precariously, deliciously, between what came before and what comes next.
In Liza Bingham’s paintings, shapes shake themselves loose from any idea of a fixed composition and surrender to the application of paint to surface – as focus, as process, as the point of it all.
The presence of the hand is central in Katherine Desjardins’s paintings, which convey the sensuality of paint and of touch. Her art confronts the monopolization of our attention by technology, and reminds us of the vast range of tactile experience that exists in the grit and pleasures of the physical world.
Diane Teubner enlists the Modernist grid to invoke looms, and the warp and weft of the canvas on which she paints finds kinship with textiles, such as woven rugs and embroidery from Sweden, her mother’s native country. This matching of painting’s means with her motif creates a resonance between the historical context of painting and the artist’s personal history.
The close association between fabric and painting is made concrete in John Roy’s work. Cast from towels and coated in paint, they are displayed hanging on the wall or tumbled onto the floor. With a discreet elegance that evokes decades of thought about abstract painting, his pieces play-act as everyday towels, or even paint rags.
The gifts and constraints of abstraction pulse through the work of these artists, providing links to the not-so-long-ago, pre-digital era. Their work hints that painting’s role in the twenty-first century may rely on its imperative that we look and feel, patiently and quietly, both outside ourselves and within. Painting can urge us to maintain and reinforce the sensual, sensory, and sentient interface between our eyes and our hands, and between our interiority and the friction of the phenomenal world.