Robert Mangold

18 Mar - 23 Apr 2011

© Robert Mangold
Ring Image K, 2010
acrylic, graphite and black pencil on canvas
60" (152.4 cm) diameter
Ring Paintings
18 March - 23 April, 2011

The Pace Gallery is pleased to present Robert Mangold: Ring Paintings, a series of paintings on shaped canvas, as well as a selection of related works on paper. The exhibition will be on view from March 18 through April 23, 2011, at 32 East 57th Street, New York City. A catalogue featuring a conversation with the artist will accompany the exhibition. This is Robert Mangold’s thirteenth exhibition with The Pace Gallery since 1991 and represents almost three years’ work.

The works in Robert Mangold: Ring Paintings are all on canvases made from two panels joined to form a ring with an open center. Faint pencil lines, visible through monochromatic washes of acrylic paint, segment each panel into even proportions while heavier curving lines react to the ring’s shape and its divisions, pressing against the boundaries of their structures.

Since the beginning of his career in the mid-‘60s, Mangold has combined the classic elements of composition—shape, line, and color—to create abstract works of architectural scale, drawing by hand thick and thin graphite lines on subtly modulated planes of color. The Ring paintings highlight Mangold’s expansive and reflective vocabulary, in which there is a continuous evolution from his early to his most recent works. “I’ve been working with the circle and circle parts as an image off and on for decades, and these Ring paintings are a continuation of that,” Mangold says. “However, in the new paintings, for all the enclosure a circle signifies, the central area is empty, a void. The painted image takes place in the band of color, circling the empty center, so there is also an obvious connection to the Frame paintings I did in the mid-‘80s, where framing rectangles and a drawn ellipse surround an open center.”

Though the Ring paintings are a shift from the Column paintings that had preoccupied Mangold since 2002, he arrived at the original idea for the Ring paintings by conceptually bending two columns and bringing them together to form a ring. Prior to the Ring paintings, Mangold’s single-panel Circle paintings (1973–75) were his only round paintings. While the ring-shaped canvas is unprecedented in his body of work, the circular motif—fragmented and whole, regular and distorted—has been a persistent form in Mangold’s work throughout his career. “Although he does not elect to invest those shapes with symbolic or spiritual value, Mangold is deeply aware of the signifying capacity of abstract form and the role shape has played historically,” curator Marla Prather wrote about Mangold’s first Ring painting, from 2008. “And, of course, the circle has a distinguished lineage as a canonical modernist form that is synonymous with the dawn of nonobjective painting—from the color disks of Delaunay to the Suprematist canvases of Malevich. Mangold seems to generously embrace the inevitable and even accidental historical connections his work evokes.”

Each painting in the exhibition is constructed in two pieces, with a split or vertical seam between the two halves of the ring. Mangold stretches and paints each half separately; his palette tends towards sheer washes of soft grays, yellows, oranges, and blues. When mounted together, the vertical seams become visual equivalents to the drawn graphite division lines, though the proportions of division may change from one half to the other. Three of the works in the exhibition are made by uniting two halves of rings of different diameters and colors. In these paintings, the seam emphasizes the left-right split: not only is each side a separate color, but each half has a different radius.

The exhibition will also include several related works on paper. As has been his practice for decades, Mangold first explored the ring shape through sketches, followed by formal pastel drawings. He rehearsed his first full-scale Ring painting with an acrylic on paper study that was 48 inches—a quarter of a full painting. Less a rough draft than a fully rendered painting, this initial version allows the artist to establish color, test scale and proportions, and finalize design elements. In 2009, The Pace Gallery presented Robert Mangold: Drawings and Works on Paper, 1965–2008, a historical survey exhibition of nearly 100 drawings and works on paper from the artist’s personal archive, which highlighted the importance of preparatory studies to Mangold’s process and revealed both the continual inventiveness and the thematic consistency of his body of work.

Robert Mangold (b. 1937, North Tonawanda, NY) studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art before attending the Yale University School of Art and Architecture; he received both B.F.A (1961) and M.F.A. (1963) degrees from Yale.

Since his first solo exhibition in 1964, Mangold’s work has been the subject of numerous single-person exhibitions, traveling exhibitions, and retrospectives throughout the United States and abroad, including Robert Mangold at the Guggenheim Museum, New York (1972); Paintings 1964–1982 and Drawings and Prints at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1982); Robert Mangold: Paintings 1971–1984 organized by the Akron Art Museum with subsequent venues in New York, Texas and California (1984–86); Paintings 1964–1987 at the Hallen für neue Kunst, Schaffhausen, Switzerland (1987); Robert Mangold: The Oberlin Window at the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College (1992); Robert Mangold: Painting as Wall, Werke von 1964 bis 1993 organized by the Hallen für neue Kunst with subsequent venues in Paris, Münster and Lisbon (1993–95); and Robert Mangold: Paintings and Drawings 1984–1997 at the Museum Wiesbaden (1998–99) traveling to the Kunstmuseum, St. Gallen later that year; Robert Mangold: X, Plus and Frame Paintings, Works from the 1980s at the Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London (2009); and Robert Mangold, Beyond the Line: Paintings and Project 2000–2008 at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, presented in 2009 in conjunction with the an important public commission at the Federal Courthouse Building, which will be unveiled this spring.

In 1998 the Museum Wiesbaden, in conjunction with the exhibition Robert Mangold: Attic Series and Plane/Figure Paintings, awarded the artist the Jawlensky-Preis der Stadt Wiesbaden Award. On the occasion of that exhibition, the second portion of the catalogue raisonné of Mangold’s work was published. The first portion of the catalogue raisonné was published in conjunction with the 1982 Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam exhibition. The Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht mounted solo exhibitions on two separate occasions (1988, 1997), and the artist was the subject of an exhibition at the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain in 1999. Mangold has been included three times in Documenta (1972, 1977, 1982), four times in the Whitney Biennial (1979, 1983, 1985, 2004), and in the Venice Biennale (1993). In 2000, Phaidon Press published the first major monograph on Robert Mangold.

Early in his career, Mangold received a National Endowment for the Visual Arts Fellowship (1967). In 1993 he was awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Painting from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Robert Mangold later became a trustee of Yale University Art Gallery (1999), a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2001), and was most recently elected a member of the National Academy (2005).

Mangold’s work can be found in more than 75 public collections in the United States and abroad including Kunstmuseum, Basel; Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht; The Art Institute of Chicago; Cleveland Museum of Art; Dallas Museum of Art; The J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Gallery, London; Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Robert Mangold lives and works in upstate New York.

Tags: Ed Atkins, Kazimir Malevich, Robert Mangold