LIZ DESCHENES / SOL LEWITT

September 11 — October 23, 2016
36 Orchard Street

Miguel Abreu Gallery is pleased to announce Liz Deschenes / Sol LeWitt opening on Sunday, September 11th , at our 36 Orchard Street loction.

The exhibition comprises a selection of LeWitt’s serialized photographic work On the Walls of the Lower East Side (1979) and Black over Map of Manhattan (1992), along with a constellation of new photograms by Liz Deschenes conceived in response to LeWitt’s work.

Of LeWitt’s “On the Walls of the Lower East Side,” George Stolz wrote:

It is a non-sequential survey—666 photos in all—of the grungy, polyglot walls of LeWitt’s neighborhood in lower Manhattan (including a photograph of the door to his loft at 117 Hester Street). In On the Walls of the Lower East Side, the graffiti or ‘writing on the wall’ is as much a part of the focus as the wall itself (much like LeWitt’s word-heavy ‘location’ wall drawings of the mid-70s). The abundant graffiti presages the graffiti art that was soon to enter the artistic mainstream in New York City. The strident political content of the graffiti gives voice to the radical politics for which the neighborhood has long been known – “Castrate Rapists”, “Avenge Attica”, “Stop Nuclear Power” – and lends the work an added value as social document. Wild combinations of scrawled words, falling walls, torn posters and spattered paint provide a treasure-trove of random, spontaneous form, a street-wise “narrative of shapes.” Thus On the Walls of the Lower East Side belongs with photo-series such as Clouds, Windows, Photogrids, Sunrise and Sunset at Praiano, Crown Point and Stone Walls (and to some degree Autobiography). All are studies structured around techniques of permutation and multiplicity; all address and combine LeWitt’s ongoing formal concerns; and all tend to spring from subject matter closely related to LeWitt’s own life.

Liz Deschenes’s triangular works further the camera-less technique for which she is best known. The photograms she makes are a direct record of atmospheric conditions during the process of their production: light, humidity, and the outside temperature, among other factors, determine the surface of the final works. In this new series, Deschenes applied photographic bleach on the photograms to echo LeWitt’s basic gesture of erasure in the Cutout Maps series from 1976-79, currently on view at Paula Cooper Gallery. Her use of bleaching is analogous to LeWitt’s eradication of the image; however, while his point of departure is an image of a bird’s view cityscape, Deschenes’s photograms are devoid of any representation to begin with. In a sense, they manifest something akin to a double abstraction.

Concurrent with this exhibition, Paula Cooper Gallery will present Sol LeWitt /Liz Deschenes at 521 West 21st Street. Untitled (Sol LeWitt) by Deschenes is the continuation of her Blue Wool series, which addresses color fading and conservation concerns associated with the display of art works and their exposure to light. The tones of Untitled (Sol LeWitt) are shades of magenta, the only layer of hue in LeWitt’s On the Walls of the Lower East Side that hasn’t faded.