The Stubborn Influence of Painting by Kate Petley

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art’s Summer 2021 Exhibition.

This exhibition gathered nine diverse artists whose work erases the boundaries between mediums and categories. None of the artists painted paintings. Instead, the influence of painting was rendered using unexpected materials and experimental approaches.

Guest curated by Kate Petley.

The artists:

Philip V. Augustin

peter campus

Naomi Cohn

Steven Frost

Alexandra Hedison

Nikolai Ishchuk

Garry Noland

Gelah Penn

Altoon Sultan

Museum Information

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

Located in Central Boulder, the Contemporary Art Museum is a great experience! The current exhibition will be on display until September 6, 2021. We spent about an hour at this boutique gallery near Boulder Creek.

Location

Hours

Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-5pm.

Open until 8pm Wednesdays and at 9 am Saturdays during Boulder Farmers Market.

Admission

$2

Free on Saturdays.

Free for Members & Children under 12.

Paid street parking.

For more information, visit bmoca.org.

Naomi Cohn

Naomi Cohn pushes clay around in a literal dance with its plasticity and potential for surprise. Intuitive and playful, her work retains a clear reminder of the material’s innate resistance. Glazes are applied with a nod to painted patterns and their meanings. Grids and splotches merge onto the open vessel forms, empty containers into which anything can be placed. The vessel’s metaphorical relationship to the human body is expressively reflected.

Steven Frost

Steven Frost selects materials that speak to personal relationships. His piece in this exhibition addresses the wall as if it were a large painting. Specifically, he directly references Robert Rauschenberg’s 1955 mixed media painting Bed. In it, Rauschenberg used a quilt by Black Mountain College faculty member Dorothea Rockburne without her permission. Her contribution is not mentioned when the piece is exhibited. Frost considers Bed to be representative of the erasure of women and craft from art history. With this piece, he also supports the breakdown of the artificial boundaries that have separated weaving, craft, painting, and meaning.

Gelah Penn

Gelah Penn combines offbeat commercial materials in dimensional pieces that redefine sculpture, drawing, and painting. Gesture and marks appear, but they’re constructed out of plastic and “stuff.” Elegantly layering the materials, Penn creates work that appears to be the result of a casual incident, as if her wildly divergent choices arranged themselves. Wall dependent but spatially forceful, her work illustrates how her interests merge in a painterly approach.

Garry Noland

Garry Noland uses commonly found materials to emphasize the relationship between objects and perception, where notions like balance and tension are key. For him, paintings are objects with distinct physical properties. Noland selects decidedly low-brow materials, but in his hands these humble substances communicate a message of beauty and order that defies expectations.

Nikolai Ishchuk

Nikolai Ishchuk transfers the qualities of painting to camera-less photography. Subjecting the materials of photography, with their sensitivity to light and chemical manipulation, to extreme limits, he questions what a photograph might become. Ghostlike traces of interaction contrast with deep black shadows, disclosing little about the process. Stark, yet warmly intimate, Ishchuk’s bold Threshold series holds nothing back.

Altoon Sultan

Altoon Sultan uses classic rug hooking as a vehicle to approach abstraction. A seamless interface develops between this historic craft and present time. She brings this technique into dialogue with the paintings of such artists as Blinky Palermo. Sultan is influenced as well by her life in rural Vermont. Simplicity conceals her rigorous commitment to color and compositional balance. With a presence that defies their small scale, Sultan’s work backdrops her profound response to nature and its timeless balance.

Philip V. Augustin

Philip V. Augustin is dedicated to traditional analogue photography and its capacity for contrasting tones, delicate gradations, and illusion. Beginning with a still life and concluding with controlled darkroom maneuvers, Augustin achieves a startling reductive symmetry. His austere compositions speak to the paintings of Frederick Hammersley, but rely on black and white alone to reach our senses. Uninterested in color, Augustin explores the full expression that black and white is capable of and executes his work with an unwavering vision.

Alexandra Hedison

Alexandra Hedison is a large format photographer whose work dissolves the line between appearance and reality. Questioning place and time, Hedison brings the paint-covered windows of abandoned Paris storefronts into a conversation about memory and change. By photographing spaces in transition, Hedison captures their fleeting potential to reflect loss. Transformation is made permanent in this series title Found Paintings.

peter campus

peter campus is one of the most influential artists in the history of video art, pioneering its advance with Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman, and Bill Violan, campus’ initial video installations explored psychological space and the construction of identity.

Abandoning direct use of the figure, campus shifted to photography in 1978 to address the Long Island landscape that had become his home. His resulting contemplative videos slow time down to the point of its near obliteration. By reducing the pace at which we view the world, campus’ works suspend the viewer within the imagery.

While this is comparable to the experience that occurs in front of a painting, it registers differently in the body. campus breaks down the physical experience of vision to such a minute degree that it enforces a type of trance. Extremely high-definition equipment and technology allow campus to manipulate the pixels as if they were brushtrokes. He is training us to see.

campus is not interested in merely photographing the components of nature; instead, his work becomes the foundation for locating his own deeply personal responses. It is a profoundly internal search for meaning and its conveyance.

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