Marianne Boesky

No Vacancies

26 Jun - 07 Aug 2015

No Vacancies (Installation View)
Marianne Boesky Gallery, 2015
© 2015 Robert Morris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
26 June – 7 August 2015

Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present No Vacancies, a group exhibition of works by Miyoko Ito (1918-1983), Phillip King (b. 1934), Robert Morris (b. 1931), and Lisa Williamson (b. 1977), organized by Kristen Becker. Featuring sculpture, oil paintings, and works on paper from the 1950s to the present, this show presents four artists whose works play with the viewer’s experience of form, density, depth and perceptual access. No Vacancies will be on view from June 26 through August 7, at 509 West 24th Street.

Rooted in a framework that includes iconic architecture, modernist presentations of the figure, and the artists’ own physical proportions, these works are grounded in specific sources but ultimately convey a more universal sense of spatial and figurative recognition. Dichotomies between angle and curve, architecture and body, presence and absence begin to emerge and slowly meld. Each work suggests an implied human occupancy, whether through the viewer’s spatial activation or through a representative association with the human form itself.

Phillip King’s sculptures are simultaneously classical and modern. Though known for his use of color, in the early 1960s King began exploring stripped-down forms in basic white plaster. Notably, this enduring medium was used as a structural and decorative material on the surface of the Egyptian pyramids; King visually reinforces that history by consistently using triangular forms as in Drift and Untitled I. The angular wood constructions highlight the undulations of the applied plaster composition. Sky Anchor and Window Piece follow an equally iconic tradition in their exploration of both positive and negative space. These works inhabit and shape the surrounding space, playfully encouraging the viewer to transgress boundaries and visually activate the sculpture.

Miyoko Ito’s paintings seduce the viewer, presenting dream-like atmospheres that exist in the space between abstraction and architectural rendering. The compositions hover, giving the sensation of a place that holds no fixed location. Ito’s color palette reinforces these works’ beguiling haze, as neutral backgrounds give way to brightly saturated forms, void of figures but filled with an intriguing presence. The artist’s clear nod to Surrealism combines with her place amongst linear Chicago Imagists to create wholly new and alluring environments in which to linger.

Throughout his career, Robert Morris has pursued a relentless physicality in his sculpture, drawings, dance, performance, and installation. He often employs his own body as an inherent system of rules, using his height and other measurements as a marker. The title of Tub suggests the containment of a body and its potential submersion, though the work’s leaning angle prompts an open reading as a protective structure or even an architectural apse. A similar ambiguity is visible in Morris’ labyrinth drawings as the mysterious compositions continue off the page. Vetti V provides a more direct anatomical reference. The title refers to the House of the Vettii, one of the most luxurious homes preserved in the ruins of Pompeii and notorious for its display of overtly sexual metaphors of abundance. The suggestive composition of the sculpture presents a literal counterpoint to the male display of its eponymous origin, while its grand scale and the physicality required to shape and transform the felt makes the artist’s own body a ghostly presence.

Lisa Williamson investigates mass and volume, prodding the viewer to surpass perceptual expectation and arrive at a restful state of comfortable ambiguity. Each form cuts into the surrounding space, creating lines and angles that are at once familiar and peculiar. Williamson diligently handles wood sculptures that reveal organic flaws and aberrations, resulting in an almost putty-like surface when painted. These works appear soft to the touch, a supple texture that belies their weight and density. Wavy Dimension (June) extends its curves upward with elegant and totemic intention while staying grounded in Williamson’s winsome sense of play. Long Dimension (Gates) sets the stage for personal and visual framing, demonstrating intrinsic formal restraint while providing an entry for insinuated passage. These suggestive interactions extend to Tender Dimension (Elephant) and Heavy Dimension (Tomb); their awkward height, subtly widening dimensions and satisfying sense of density and mass evoking both the elemental and the domestic. At once monumental and lively, Williamson’s works disclose the activated potential of solid form, both in space and in the mind’s eye.

Tags: Phillip King, Robert Morris, Lisa Williamson