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The Shape Shifters July 7-August 2, 2017


T

he concept of the painting as a discrete view into an illusory threedimensional space is nearly as old as painting itself. Since the advent of easel painting the employment of standard shapes— rectangles and squares—served to reinforce the perception of a window or portal into a reality beyond that of the object itself. Paintings that deviated from the traditional rectangular and square formats have been around since the Renaissance when arched and round pictures (tondos) became popular, but such variations in form were not intended to affect the conceptual basis of the work. By the early 20th century modernist painters such as Piet Mondrian had begun to experiment with forms other than the standard 90-degree angle configurations. In the post-War years young artists such as the Italian Lucio Fontana, the English artist Richard Smith, and American painters such as Ellsworth Kelly, Leon Polk Smith, Kenneth Noland, Robert Mangold, Richard Tuttle and Frank Stella started to explore the possibilities of irregularly shaped supports for their abstractions. Their insistence on the painting as a singular two-dimensional object rejected any suggestion of pictorial illusion and the subliminal relation of traditional pictorial formats to landscape (the horizontal rectangle) and portraiture (the vertical rectangle). By 1964, the movement had gained sufficient currency for the Guggenheim Museum in New York to present the exhibition The Shaped Canvas, curated by Lawrence Alloway. This exhibiiton examines the approach of painters to the continuing dialogue between color, form, dimensionality and the relation of viewer and artwork. The Shape Shifters brings together numerous important movements in abstract post-War art including Abstract Expressionism, hard-edge painting, Minimalism, color-field painting and op art. The shaped canvas movement remains influential into the 21st century and its practitioners continue to explore the expressive possibilities of color, dimension and form freed from the restrictions of the right-angle canvas.


Thomas Downing (1928-1985) Untitled (Lavender Circles), 1966 Acrylic on shaped canvas 21 x 30.5 inches Provenance: Henri Gallery, Washington, DC Property from the Richard A. Madlener Trust


Charles Hinman (b. 1932) Red Spike, 1981 Acrylic on shaped canvas 30 x 52 inches Provenance: Estate of Ruth Ellen Cook, Raleigh, NC


Mokha Laget Borderline, 2017 Acrylic and clay pigment on shaped canvas 50 x 102 inches


Mokha Laget Incursion, 2017 Acrylic and clay pigment on shaped canvas 84 x 35 inches


Mokha Laget Skip Tracer, 2014 Acrylic and clay pigment on shaped canvas 50 x 32 inches


Alvin D. Loving, Jr (1935-2005) Untitled, 1975 Acrylic on shaped canvas 62 x 62 inches Provenance: Private Collection, NY


Mokha Laget Shadowbox #2, 2014 Acrylic and clay pigment on shaped canvas 52 x 48 inches


Janet Lippincott (1918-2007) Untitled, c.1970 Acrylic on shaped canvas 42 x 42 inches


Leon Polk Smith (1905-1995) Oklahoma Vermilion and Black, 1956 Oil and collage on shaped canvas 31.5 x 31.5 inches Inscribed verso: “Gift to Bob Jamieson 1956 from Leon Polk Smith to Bob Jamieson� Provenance: Estate of Robert Mead Jamieson, New York, NY


Leo Valledor (1936-1989) Enchantment, 1966 Acrylic on canvas 12 x 61.75 inches Provenance: Private collection, London Private collection, New Jersey Graham Gallery, New York


Leo Valledor (1936-1989) Oasis, 1966 Acrylic on canvas 12 x 61.75 inches Provenance: Private collection, London Private collection, New Jersey Graham Gallery, New York


Alvin D. Loving, Jr (1935-2005) Cube #2, 1975 Oil on shaped canvas 51.5 x 60 inches Provenance: Estate of Harry Winston; ex collection of Lydia Kahn Winston Malbin, 1978


Charles Hinman (b. 1932) Untitled, 1964 Acrylic on shaped canvas 44 x 42 x 17.5 inches Provenance: Private Collection, London Lillian Florsheim Foundation for the Arts, Chicago, IL Richard Feigen Gallery, Chicago, IL Exhibition History: Geometric Abstraction, May 17 - June 30, 1985, Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart, IN


Charles Hinman (b. 1932) Pinwheel, 1964 Acrylic on shaped canvas 44.5 x 29 x 14.5 inches


Donald Roy Thonpson (b. 1936) Dancer, 1974 Acrylic on shaped canvas 84 x 68 inches


Profile for Peyton Wright Gallery

The Shape Shifters  

An exhibition of work outside the rectangle

The Shape Shifters  

An exhibition of work outside the rectangle

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