abstraction, we thinks
April 18 - June 1, 2019
A ‘sindikit project at MONO Practice
‘sindikit is a collaborative art project between Tim Doud and Zoë Charlton. We organize artist
projects, programming, and collaborations that emphasize processes and methodologies, and the
research behind the artwork created. Through individual projects and community-based
conversations, we invite dialogue about gender, race, and sexuality, and their economies. Our
curatorial project at MONO Practice continues our examination of the power of abstraction to engage
ideas about identity and materiality.
abstraction, we thinks presents work by six artists who utilize abstraction to explore the
contradictory nature of the genre itself. Their relationship with the genre moves around modernism
and the maker’s identities. The participating artists are Robert Burnier, Adrienne Gaither, Alexis
Granwell, Amanda Muhlena Hays, Clint Jukkala, and Tarn McLean.
Robert Burnier makes paintings that function as sculptures and reliefs. His material choices dictate
the ultimate read of the work as he asserts the physicality of objects and the inherent flatness of the
material to expand the field of painting. Materiality and the expectations of the picture plane confound
Adrienne Gaither makes paintings and wall installations that reflect a synthesized visual aesthetic
that challenges the modernist trope of hard-edged abstraction and the representations of
intersectional identities in media under the guise of process painting. On the surface, the work to
function as congenial to hard-edge abstraction. However, in Gaither’s hands, these reductive
paintings cleverly disguise the expressiveness of her intention.
Moving between sculpture and two-dimensional work created from handmade paper, Alexis
Granwell’s artwork calls attention to surface and flatness. She takes flat work and crafts it into
appealingly awkward things. The spaces between craft (how something is made) and form (what is
made) both announce and deny objecthood. The genesis of the work is further bolstered by
positioning the paper on shaped wood and concrete forms à la Brancusi.
Amanda Muhlena Hays’s work is processed-based and conditional--the resulting images question
the reductiveness of minimalism and the assumptions of process. Chance is privileged in her
systematic approach to these works on paper by limiting the materials that are used. The limitations of
the life of the 7 colors of Sarasa pens she uses determine the palette and the amount of time spent on
making the work.
Clint Jukkala’s paintings are playful and referential. His imagery suggests people, places, and
things; the expressive mark-making animates and invites the viewer to construct recognizable
forms. The simplification of form allows for the imaginative--the gestural qualities of marks take center
stage. The ‘goofiness’ of the work is an outcome of simplicity, underscoring what already exists in
these paintings, which is the nature of abstraction.
Geometric Abstraction and its applicability to social spaces and visual language expands how Tarn
McLean thinks about painting. Of the three works in the exhibition, two function as paintings. Her
paintings often move beyond the frame of the picture plane to integrate with existing architecture, as
wall installations, perform as textile designs, and invade the digital.
abstraction, we thinks, and the participating artists, continue our conversation about the efficacy and
socio-political power of abstraction.