ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico State University Art Gallery presents “Off the Wall,” an exhibition inspired by the minimal wall drawings and sculptures of Sol LeWitt.
The two-part exhibition will both trace the history of Sol LeWitt’s relationship with NMSU, as well as show the extent of his influence on a new generation of artists who use the surface of the wall as their canvas.
Starting on Friday, 29 artists, assistants and students will begin a public installation process, creating works constructed directly onto the gallery walls. Part performance, part exploration into practice and exhibition design, this group show will create a conversation revealing the intricate actions employed when creating a minimal art work.
In addition to the work of Sol LeWitt, “Off the Wall” features the work of Allie Rex, Judith Braun, Christie Blizard and Nathan Green, four contemporary artists from across the country who have traded traditional supportive mediums such as the canvas, panel, and paper for the challenge of working directly on the wall.
Manipulating perspective and generating large-scale optical illusions, each of these artists use various methods to challenge the viewers understanding of the existing architecture within the gallery space.
Rex, of Brooklyn, N.Y., creates her work by merging the techniques of painting, drawing, collage, installation and performance. She hand-paints mylar and pins her carefully cut shapes, lines, units and grids directly onto the wall.
She experiments with bold, vivid, and saturated color, producing abstract and universal symbols, which exposes intricate visual metaphors and layers of meaning. Her compositions are structured like flat paintings liberated from their two-dimensionality, yet delicately oscillating between two and three dimensions.
New York City artist Braun’s drawings are created with a strict set of rules: symmetry, abstraction, carbon medium. From these three seemingly simple rules Braun has created an infinite visual language that she spells out on gallery walls.
Fingering, involves Braun carefully dipping her fingertips in charcoal and then using her fingers as brushes to sketch, brush, paint, and draw stunning large-scale complex symmetrical works.
Blizard, of San Antonio, Texas, states in regards to her work: “I am intrigued by the connective tissues between painting and performance, public and private and the spectacle and the hidden.”
Blizard’s glow paintings explore collaborative practice as she works together with NMSU students to make a room-size drawing with tape.
Her tape-based installations combine her influences of videogame design and traditional textile design with her interest in spirituality, social practice, and fragmentation.
Often reminiscent of tribal or shamanistic drawings, her work pulsates from the walls and ground due in part to her use of Blacklight and her neon pink, hot teal, and dayglo purple color palette.
Dallas artist Green’s paintings, sculptures, and installations coexist in the austere world of modernist abstraction and the more playful world of craft.
Creating sculptures out of walls painted with luminescent beams of light, geometric patterning, and trompe-l’oeil techniques, Green forms his work intuitively with paint rollers and premixed Home Depot paints.
For his site-specific works at NMSU, Green’s sending students an instructional video and a map for them to trace and recreate his painted gradient-based lexicon of shapes.