The Landing is proud to present Materializations, a group exhibition that finds pleasure and meaning in materiality. All of the artists whose works are included share an interest in tactility and surface—whether working with paint, fiber, embroidery, or clay. Many use their practice to investigate pattern and repetition, and include signs and symbols in their pieces, like arrows, stars and flags. Most of these artists are using geometric shapes—often formed by hand in a rendering that’s slouched or irregular. Though all the artists included are using abstraction and an attention to the materiality of their work, they employ a huge variety of methods in building it, and they’re making work with a wide variety of tones and points of view.
The word “materialization” is a paranormal term that refers to things manifesting by mysterious methods; here it’s used to show art-making as a kind of conjuring, and to suggest art is a way of making ideas corporeal.
Mike Cloud’s paintings are heavy with symbolism; he marks out painterly sections of charged words, diamonds, flags, mazes, and arrows in works of brutal honesty in both their subject matter and their making. Cloud builds his frames in hexagonal or pentagonal shapes, and then staples his canvas directly to the face of the stretcher bars, making his process apparent.
Brenda Goodman’s paintings on wood feel intimate and personal, despite their abstract form. She uses triangle and diamond shapes within bulbous formations that seem surrealist—curving and twisting—but with a hard edge: she utilizes a linoleum cutter and an ice pick to scar her surfaces with her patterns. Goodman lets her paint seep into fissures she’s created, which form a tangled web of scratches—marks that feel emotionally charged.
Ariel Herwitz’s monumental works in wool form leaning rectangles, imperfect circles, and irregular squares in a way that brings to mind falling apart and the failure of structures to endure. These works of near collapse are built with intricate means—her long wool fibers are wound and wound around armatures and are rife with evidence of the hand. Her piece’s descriptive names, like “Unmask,” “Attempting to Balance” and “Mass of the Body,” reveal the human experiences their forms explore, but their abstraction leaves room for the subjective eye.
Christy Matson’s weavings are made of cotton, wool and spray-painted or stained paper thread. Woven on a digital jacquard loom, they originate as sketches or watercolors on paper. The final form acts as a bridge between the digitized and the handmade, often with a scribble or the arc of a paper cutout still distinguishable. Matson pushes the abilities of the form to the extreme, making measured jumps in scale so that a traditional waffle weave is amplified, becoming almost architectural. In sun-bleached hues and metallic shades, Matson’s work points to the inherent structure of familiar materials and allows us to have a very painterly experience in front of her work.
Sangram Majumdar’s paintings are built with gentle layering. They include symbolic forms—stars and starbursts, plant and floral shapes—in organic configurations that feel alive with the presence of the artist’s stroke. Floaty and mobile, these works seem to employ a kind of dream logic, and build landscapes full of motion and a sense of continual expanding and exploding—landscapes at once celestial and floral, both personal and universal—landscapes that invite a viewer to enter, to wander, and even to float.
Ben Medansky will be debuting a large ceramic totem—a monumental whole made up of many parts—that utilizes repeated forms from base to top. Historically, totems have had a symbolic dimension to them; this abstract work, without inherent symbology, instead draws attention to the intricacy of its craftsmanship—it was made by hand, and reflects the artist’s careful, measured approach.
Ezra Tessler makes paintings in oil and wax on linen stretched over shaped panels. His surfaces include triangles, bands of color, and curves and rectangles, as well as deep pictorial spaces like cloudscapes or gradients. Tessler’s paintings are folded or inverted, bending up off the wall or forming a peak, so that the work serves as an object-painting and becomes an actor in the room. Some of these folded surfaces feel like open books, while their color palette—at times reminiscent of early digital renderings—can feel at once contemporary and nostalgic.
Amanda Valdez’s paintings begin as drawings. She then goes through an elaborate process of deciding what materials will be used throughout the piece and engineering the surface by stitching fabrics and canvas together. Various sections may be hand-dyed, embroidered, drawn with oil stick, or painted with acrylic and gouache. Triangles, diamonds and circles occur throughout, often in repeating formations that remind the viewer of classic quilting patterns. Names like “Gracious Vessel” further the natural comparison to craft that Valdez’s tactile, sewn paintings evoke.
Jake Walker’s monochromatic oil paintings are embedded in handmade ceramic frames. These frames—made from local clay available in Walker’s native New Zealand—are speckled and soft at their edges, wrapping around the painting like handles or lengths of pipe. Some of Walker’s works are dated or signed with scratches on the surface. They participate in a long tradition of paintings that feature exaggerated signatures and are dated with the time of their making.