A Few Conversations about Color

DM Contemporary, New York City, 2015

Originally published January 27, 2015

Nancy Natale

Globalization, 2013, mixed media, 36 x 36 inches

In early November Doris Mukabaa Marksohn, director of DM Contemporary in Manhattan, invited me to curate an exhibition. I'd been wanting to put together a color show and even had a mental selection of the work of artists whose studios I'd visited and could see together.

"When would the show be for?" I asked, thinking spring or summer.
"Mid-January to the end of February," she said.

I took a deep breath and said yes.

Talking color at dm contemporary. From left: Nancy Natale, Joanne Freeman, Matthew Langley, Ruth Hiller, Julir Karabenick, Joanne Mattera

In A Few Conversations About Color we see what happens when seven colorists allow their work to take part in a visual discourse. In curating the exhibition I brought together these artists (myself among them) who work formally in a reductive or geometric mode and who collectively employ a range of mediums to express their chromatic strategies. Within those parameters, we explore structure and gesture, working in a way that is physically vigorous or conceptually driven, materially rich or coolly uninflected. There’s no black or white here, in fact or in concept, as the fabric of this exhibition is one of chromatic interaction.

You can view an online version of the catalog here, designed by Ruth Hiller with my essay, images of the artists' work, and their own words about their work. In this post, let me take you on a virtual tour of the exhibition, in the beautifully illuminated gallery space, interspersed with some artist-provided images of work in the show. The artists are Joanne Freeman, Ruth Hiller, Damien Hoar de Galvan, Julie Karabenick, Matthew Langley, Joanne Mattera and Nancy Natale.)

We're standing in the hallway, entrance door just past our left shoulder, looking into the gallery's two main exhibition rooms. (There's another gallery to our right, and we'll get to that later)

 Ruth Hiller, left; Julie Karabenick on wall in middle distance; my installation on far wall

Ruth Hiller

Skew 11.13, 2014, acrylic on plexiglass

Joanne Freeman

Roxbury (A) and Roxbury (B), both 2013, oil on canvas

Full view of the alcove, with paintings by Matthew Langley and Ruth Hiller

I am taken not only with the chromatic conversation between these two artists, but by the repartee provided by the vertical divides in their work

Ruth Hiller

Intersection 11.4, 2014, pigmented beeswax on panels

Matthew Langley

Above: Bright Earth, 2014, oil on canvas

Below: Red Sails, 2014 oil on canvas

Panning from the alcove to paintings in the far space

Julie Karabenick

Above: #13, 2013, 2013, acrylic on panel

Below: #12, 2013, 2013, acrylic on panel

Damien Hoar de Galvan

Across from the installation of Langley and Hiller's work is a pedestal with three small sculptures by Damien Hoar de Galvan, each Untitled, from 2013 or 2014, made scrap wood and various paint. The compositions of colored shards converses with Karabenick's pristine compositions as well as with the elegantly rough-hewn constrructions of Nancy Natale, whose three works are on the wall to the right of the pedestal

Below: Larger view of one of Hoar de Galvan's UntitledI works

Nancy Natale

Paris Passion,  2013, mixed media, 14 x 14 inches

Are you oriented?

Now let's head back through the center gallery and over to a third gallery to the right of where we entered

We pass Matthew Langley's Harvest and face Joanne Freeman's small White (b) . . .

. . . peeking into the office gallery, where we see Ruth Hiller's . . .

. . . Superdrive, 2014, pigmented beeswax on panel . . .

. . . facing a wall of constructed works by Nancy Natale and Damien Hoar de Galvan, continuing a conversation that began in the other gallery

Damien Hoar de Galvan, Untitled

Before we leave, let me show you the installation of paintings from my Silk Road series, shown below with the spacing I'd conceived for the installation. Each painting is encaustic on panel, 12 x 12 inches

Exhibition catalog, designed by Ruth Hiller, with an essay by me. Cover painting by Julie Karabenick

Click to view in its entirety