K.OSS Contemporary Art is pleased to present the work of the Detroit sculptor and installation artist Sarah Wagner. The exhibition “Whether Ewe Like It or Not” is a part of a recent art installation “Vegetable Lamb Of America” which was recently exhibited at the Muskegon Museum of Art, MI.
In her new show at K.OSS Contemporary Art, Sarah Wagner: Whether Ewe Like It or Not, I am very excited to introduce you to the most recent work that Wagner created to explore her observations and struggles with the de-humanizing systems of the industrial world.
Inspired by the history of the cultivation of cotton, and its devastating impact on the development of capitalism and industrialism in the United States and beyond, she created a complex of sculptures made of fabric, steel from industrial buildings, drywall and concrete.
Throughout her fascinating career Wagner has explored themes of the manmade disasters, pollution, devastation and its impact on human beings, animal life and plant species. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally and has been reviewed in Art Week and Art Papers. She received a Pollock/Krasner Grant and a Joan Mitchell Fellowship. She holds a BFA degree from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga and a MFA from the College of the Arts, California.
K.OSS CONTEMPORARY ART
K.OSS Contemporary Art has been made possible in part by
the Artist Fund of the New York Foundation for the Arts
(photo: courtesy of the Muskegon Museum of Art)
(photo: courtesy of the Muskegon Museum of Art)
For my next exhibition I’m very pleased to bring you the work of the fine artist and sculptor, Mary Gillis.
Born in Michigan, keen to become an artist, she traveled to Venice, Italy in her early 20's to study art and art history at the Centro Internazionale delle Arti, Palazzo Grassi. Mary Gillis also holds a BFA degree from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY and a MA from New York University. She was recently a visiting artist of the American Academy in Rome in 2016.
Gillis’ style has evolved from large pastel drawings, collages and prints to paintings and large-scale sculptures to mixed media, work on aluminum and even recycled guardrail.
Through the whole of her remarkable career nature, especially water, has had a great impact on her work. The “Venice Drawings”, “Great Lakes Series”, and “Fountain Collages” reflect her passion for the rhythms and dynamism of moving water.
In her new show at K.OSS Contemporary Art, Mary Gillis: Metalscapes, I am delighted to introduce you to a series of her abstract geometric pieces that Gillis created using thermoset polymer on aluminum, acrylic paint on acrylic glass, stainless steel and a couple of guardrails. This unusual mixture of mediums creates a world both totally new and reflective of the past. These startling effects she creates by using acrylic on clay-coated hardboard as well as thermoset polymer on recycled guardrail. The works clearly convey the influence of the early modern art movement, De Stijl –an abstract, pared-down aesthetic with basic visual elements such as geometric forms and primary colors –but Gillis adds to them a contemporary sensibility. Her combination of reflective surfaces and thoughtful order brings the viewer a new sense of form and reflected space.
I will also be showing a work that will definitely be a surprise for you, a work created by patterns of rectangles made of recycled guardrails ordered into a grid. It reflects many of the innovations and themes of the other works of this exhibition. As you study the details of this remarkable piece, its patterns keep everything in motion and as your eye moves around its varied visual world, along the black bands of its structure, into the bright primary colors and whites that frame its ordered edges, it creates its own thoughtful energies.
Simple and powerful, confidently modern, these works took GIllis many years of experimentation and hard work before she was ready to create them.
Mary Gillis: Metalscapes May / June 2018
For my first exhibition I’m especially pleased to bring you the work of an artist I have followed for over a decade - catching his impressive shows in both San Francisco and Paris. His unusual career includes a role as dancer with the Jose Limon Company (1957), his first painting shows in Montreal and Boston, creating a painting studio in San Francisco (1964) where he also contributed to the underground film scene. He directed two avant-guard feature films in the 70’s and is also known as an innovator in opera, one of the first to combine film and projection in theater. He is also known as an educator - his SF Art & Film for Teenagers, is dedicated to inspiring young people to experience all the arts and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
But it is as a painter I find his work the most inspiring.
It’s hard to think of Chase as a minimalist, though his work in the last ten years reflects many minimal influences. His concentration on the grid pattern has been constant, though there are variations of size and shape,. Some of the works gain strength from the play of sold versus fluid elements. Grids are often constructed to suggest the sides of ancient walls, bulging or contracting with wear. The result is often like a bas-relief, but in the same composition pattern can disappear with a suggestion of decay, whether it suggests rain or damage over time. Everywhere there is a focus on contrast – solid and liguid; darkness and light; decay and suggested renewal.
The grid patterns are often used to organize three dimensional shapes created by layers of underpainting, forming patterns one on the other. The constant play of constructed and fluid space allows the eye to linger or be lost in the subtle details. His interest in what he has referred to as “ the patina that nature and decay create over time” is reflected in many different ways. In some of the work, the grid motif is interrupted by lines of bright red, suggesting arteries, in others, the grid seems to be the outlines of shapes holding the composition in place, or ghost-like reflections of something erased from memory. In complex white works the patterns created by pencil, crayon, paint & plaster move back and forth in space, always stimulating the eye with new pockets of energy.
The large watercolors were begun in 2014, inspired by childhood memories of collecting specimens from nature. They, too, are ordered into grids, but some playfully mix the shapes Chase has often referred to as “essential geometry” --the square, rectangle, circle and triangle. Their influence from nature allows the viewer to imagine what they might be- the watercolor technique allows the shapes simultaneously to be both transparent, enigmatic and evocative.
A series of small collages in his “White” series—work I especially value. They are, in contrast to the enormous paintings, very intimate and delicate, almost like visual poems - small compositions of paper, writing, old stamps, etc. set in large negative spaces. White on white on white --they show another side of this remarkable imagination.