Gilbert Hsiao in Off the Wall, Parallel Art Space, Ridgewood, NY

Gilbert Hsiao

Installation by Gilbert Hsiao

February 22 – March 23, 2014

A group exhibition with works that in various ways converse with and diverge from the traditional wall format. Artists include: Gilbert Hsiao, Stacie Johnson, Alex Paik, Kim Tran, and Ken Weathersby.

The viewing of all painting from the Old Masters to the “Super Flat” is, among other things, an experience with space. Different than the storied development of pictorial illusion in art, the space that is considered in “Off the Wall” is the actual, real-time environment of the art object; areas surrounding it, in front of it, and most especially behind it, in this case, the supporting wall itself.

The interest in and involvement with the wall behind the art perhaps has its roots in the rich tradition of the construction of the painted image, built up as it is, through the accretion of layers of pigmented medium, thin and close to the gessoed substrate in some areas, thick and impastoed in others. The Grisaille method of underpainting is an excellent example of this historic push and pull movement of paint through space as in this technique, the white highlights of a painting are built up in layers to a kind of shallow, bas-relief topography across the picture plane. The art makers long standing occupation with movement, both away from and out toward the viewer in space has modern examples in Frank Stella’s “Exotic Bird” series, wherein arabesque, curly-q drafting tool shapes leap brightly off the canvas, and in the monochrome, “Spatial” paintings of Lucio Fontana, wherein slashes through the stretched canvas pull the space just behind the artwork directly into viewer consideration.

The works in “Off the Wall” in some ways respond to these patterns of painterly innovation, contributing substantively to the discourse from their own points of intention and concern. Paired with a Post-modern era’s consideration of context, these artists, through the formal engagement of the art objects environs, pull context into co-operation. Existing both within the disciplines of painting, sculpture and design as well as in the liminal spaces in-between, the works in “Off the Wall” stay rooted to the wall, but not confined to it, vibrating out across the divisions of two-dimensions to three and back again.

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