David Richard Gallery’s latest exhibition, Plugged In, revisits the gallery’s roots in the exploration of post-1960s abstraction with a gathering of artists influenced both by earlier developments and modern technology. The exhibition includes several of the gallery’s long-standing artists – Christian Haub, Matthew Kluber and Matthew Penkala while introducing several New Media artists into the mix – C. Alex Clark, Anne Farrell, Noah Klersfeld and Chase Stafford.
The exhibition, “Plugged In”, will be presented May 13 through June 25, 2016 with an Opening Reception on Friday, May 13 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at David Richard Gallery, located at 1570 Pacheco Street, Suite A1, Santa Fe, NM 87505, phone: 505-983-9555.
“The aesthetic of Christian Haub, Matthew Kluber and Matthew Penkala, while working in different media, all possess a relation in terms of color theory and optical effects,” notes gallery director David Eichholtz. “With this exhibition we have the excitement and privilege of introducing several new artists into our program who are pushing the envelop in technology and imagery.”
Anne Farrell, Matthew Kluber and Noah Klersfeld, work with digital programming to create kinetic patterns. Farrell explores a multitude of image manipulation, utilizing drawings, photographs, graphics and live action video, resulting in an almost painterly visual experience. In Kluber’s case there is an interface between a painted surface that references the projected computer-generated patterns moving across the fixed image. Klersfeld also begins with a static ‘support’ – video images of bathroom tiles, shower curtains and chain-link fencing that is then fed into a program where each individual image component becomes part of a rhythmic and rapidly moving video display.
Analog meets digital in C. Alex Clark’s video work. Out-moded, cast off televisions are resurrected and reinvigorated through a mutation with digital imagery. There is a sculptural presence to the work that provides an environmental aspect in conjunction with the images.
Chase Stafford’s work references the Light and Space movement of the 60s and 70s, whose major protagonists were Robert Irwin, Larry Bell, Bruce Naumann, James Turrell. and John McCracken. His current video work pays homage to the spatial manipulation of Dan Flavin’s Minimalism, but rather than immersing the viewer in the visual experience, the viewer participates through the physical interruption of the projections.
Christian Haub’s Plexiglas constructions appear to be illuminated from within, but that illusion is the result of how the colored and clear plexi refract and diffuse the light. The pieces are constructed with only horizontal and vertical elements, yet create diagonals of color that lend a dynamic movement and an ambient environment akin to James Turrell’s light constructions.
Being acrylic on canvas, Matthew Penkala’s work comes closest to traditional painting, but is firmly rooted in abstract photography. The void is an important compositional element, emphasized by the diffusion of highly-keyed color and accented by a harder-edged application of black. The result is a shimmering surface akin to visual effect of radiating heat.
About the Artists
C. Alex Clark
“During my time in art school, my main focus was photography, with an emphasis in technology and systems. My consistent interest was exploring the precepts of Object Oriented Ontology and creating imagery that was both dictated by machine logic and uncertainty, while maintaining an aesthetic that was graspable by human prejudices. The foreseeable future while attending school was to develop both software and hardware that furthered the aesthetic desires of the machines that humans utilize to capture, preserve, and playback sensory perception.”
Clark received his BFA in Photography from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design in 2010. He is currently a member of the Meow Art Collective in Santa Fe.
After graduating from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Anne Farrell studied painting with John Fick in Santa Fe and printmaking at the University of Colorado. Her interest in computer graphics led her to the pioneer video artists Steina and Woody Vasulka, founders of the influential new media platform in New York, The Kitchen. Farrell was the founding chair and faculty of the Media Arts Department at Santa Fe Community College. She is currently a member of the Meow Wolf Art Collective, collaborating on the permanent installation The House of Eternal Return.
Farrell describes her iPad video work as follows: “These images reveal my exploration of the wide-ranging reach of the iPad. This includes photography, native-to-the-device drawing and drawing on paper, image manipulation, 3D graphics and the imaginative, unbounded combination of all these methodologies. Sometimes the work feels sculptural, almost physical as one manipulates the image elements directly with ones fingers. The inclusion of all these techniques under one roof, available at the touch of a finger, is new and it has become a fully integrated component of the creative process.”
Christian Haub, in his dedication to rigors of abstraction, has followed his own path as a contemporary practitioner. As a young artist he was very much drawn to color and has cited influences by the work of Josef Alberts, Frank Stella and earlier artists such as Piet Mondrian. Color goes very much hand-in-hand with light and growing up in Miami and later studying in Rome – two places where light is so much part of the environment – it seems natural that an artist like Dan Flavin would have an impact on his work. Indeed, in terms of structure and the radiance of Haub’s Plexiglas constructions, this is most keenly felt.
"I can’t call the Floats paintings because I don’t use paint, but they hang on the wall and come from painting, I think they could be called 'shallow reliefs.' There is the physical surface of the plastic, and then there is the colored light cast behind it on the wall. As you once pointed out, you look both at and through the works. I see the works as like fresco and watercolor—color cast onto and illuminated by the ground. I also think a lot about Matisse’s paper cutouts. My plexi is a sheet of cast acrylic, which, starting out as a liquid, is then cut into pieces and bonded together. I am free to move the parts around as much as I like before fixing them, like collage. Matisse’s final work, the Rosace, was a paper cutout and maquette for a stained glass window."
New York artist Noah Klersfeld’s digital video work might best be described as kinetic painting. The works begin as an ‘analog’ capturing of images that then enter into a complex process, completely transforming the familiar. Klersfeld’s training as an architect imposes a deep sense of structure and visual rhythm throughout the videos.
“My work in digital video highlights moments of careful observation that have been restructured in systematic, fanciful ways. Working with surface and depth, color and light, timing and rhythm, I use video to create new visual systems, harmonizing multiple timeframes that are bound within predetermined, structural forms. Focusing mainly on patterns, I reorganize motion in an attempt to look at time in spatial terms, using the pattern itself as the framework for temporally redistributing all of the surrounding activity. This method allows me to consider time on an inch-by-inch basis rather than day-by-day.”
Klersfeld studied architecture at Cornell University at Deductive Reasoning and Logic at Brown University. He received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BA in Architecture also from RISD. He later attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
Matthew Kluber’s works are a hybrid of painting and digital video. The interface between a carefully prepared geometric surface painted on aluminum and the projection of complementary computer-generated moving image tap into the issues posed by post-1950s abstraction. As he writes:
“Reference points for this work come from my interest in the historic changes brought about in art by the social and cultural upheavals and rapid developments in science and technology in the 1960’s and 70’s. These changes compelled a new generation of artists to address emotional disengagement, formal rigor, and anonymity of authorship in order to escape the art that had reached its height of influence in the form of Abstract Expressionism. In particular, I have had a long interest in the color-field painters Kenneth Noland, Gene Davis and Morris Louis; as well as light and space artists James Turrell, Robert Irwin, Doug Wheeler and Dan Flavin. They sought to dematerialize the art object; their work diffused the luminous effect of color so that the boundaries of the frame and material substance seemed almost incidental to the perceived intensities of continuous color and light sensation.”
The patterns created by the programmed projections, while not technically ‘random’, are never repeated. This kinetic aspect lends a soothing, hypnotic effect to the visual experience.
Kluber received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and his MFA from the University of Iowa. His thirty-year career has seen his work exhibited in galleries and museums from Santa Fe to Shanghai. His work can be found in public and private collections including The Austin Museum of Art, the Des Moines Art Center, the Portland Art Museum and the Figge Art Museum, among others.
The abstract imagery of Matthew Penkala’s paintings strongly reflects his training and practice in photography. The diffusion of intense, hot color is punctuated by crisp elements that fragment the surface and create movement and tension across the picture plane. There is a luminous effect, inspired by the California light and landscape akin David Hockney’s early paintings.
David Pagel of the Los Angeles Times described the work: “Unlike so much of what makes up today’s visual landscape, Penkala’s paintings are slow burns. Combining the instantaneous appeal of eye-grabbing attractions with the lasting satisfactions of time-tested abstractions, his works treat viewers to luxuries rarely found in contemporary art: reverie and introspection.”
Penkala lives and works in Los Angeles. After receiving his BFA in Photography from Arizona State University, and his MFA in Painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art, he moved to Los Angeles, where he is currently a faculty member at Otis College of Art and Design, as well as the Academic Projects Manager within the Provost’s Office. He has also served as the Visiting Artist in Residence within the Painting Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work is included in numerous private and public collections, including the Neiman Marcus Collection, Houston, Texas; Maxine and Stuart Frankel Collection, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; and Daimler-Chrysler Permanent Collection, Southfield, Michigan, among others.
A Texas transplant, Chase Matthew Stafford is currently a BFA candidate at Santa Fe University of Art and Design. In 2015 he participated in the annual new media project Currents and the Outdoor Vision Fest in Santa Fe and was a recipient of a SITE Santa Fe Scholar Award in 2016.
Stafford describes his installation-based pieces: “My work acknowledges questions of confluent space and plays with the viewer's biased understanding of imagery. Drawing is a device I use to navigate space, and transform the perception of the viewer. In order to do this I have to draw sculpturally, allowing the work to become an intervention that the viewer encounters. A 3D object is stagnant and must be navigated, a confluent object navigates the viewer, and shares the viewer's space. After seeing a series of Dan Flavin installations at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, my interest in the visceral effect light has on the viewer became my obsession. My understanding of space became my medium. I consider my recent video work to be about unveiling truth. I have been making believable fluorescent light projections that turn off when the viewer steps in front of the projector, making the viewer discern fact and fiction.”