Sara VanDerBeek. Western Costume, Black Satin (Day), 2011, detail. Courtesy of the artist and Altman Siegal Gallery.

Flection : A Phenomenology of Folds

Flection, a group exhibit at Hedge Gallery through September 1st, explores the fold in abstract art. Curated by Sabrina Buell, the exhibit includes paintings and sculptures by a group of young artists focused on the process of making art—not on depicting objects. Their work is united by a high standard of craft and an interest in materials and techniques that highlight or reveal the qualities and behaviors of fabric. 


Although decidedly contemporary, the exhibit is part of a continuum. Historically, artists depicted drapery and folds through illusion by using techniques such as chiaroscuro, glazing, or scumble, which allowed the viewer to perceive the weight and the crinkly, shiny, or soft textures of fabric. In Flection, the fabric leaves a direct imprint and defines pictorial space, becoming a residue of the making process that alludes to nothing else.


Throughout the exhibit, visitors are guided to comparisons between works, some in different rooms—tying the exhibit together spatially. Other times the works are adjacent, and shown like Sara Vanderbeck’s side by side photos. These depict the folds in western petticoats, and are hung in pairs that invert black and white. On the wall, the inversions reflect each other, transforming the petticoats into abstract formal compositions that suggest after-images, or even memories.


Hugh Scott-Douglas. Untitled, 2012. Courtesy of the artist and Silverman Gallery.


Similarly atmospheric, Hugh Scott-Douglas’ large scale cyanotypes have an ethereal quality resulting from their production. The cyanotypes are created by exposing the surface to the sun while fragments of fabric are draped across it. Accidental circumstance balances with the artist’s intentions.


Liam Everett. Untitled, 2012. Courtesy of the artist and Altman Siegal Gallery.


Liam Everett manipulates his fabric through destruction and rescue, creating canvasses that are luminous and mysterious. Loosely fastened to their supports and self-consciously sitting on small blocks that rest lightly against the wall, the works rebel against the limits of painting. The exhibit’s only real painting, by Clare Rojas, uses precise and geometric composition to imply the folds of origami.


Clare Rojas. Untitled (CR 12013), 2012. Courtesy of Clare Rojas and Paule Anglim Gallery.


The most architectural piece in the exhibit is Michael DeLucia’s 3-dimensional relief. Made of roughly-hewn industrial plywood panels, the folds are hard edges that create shadows and patterns. This piece has an almost auditory dimension as one imagines the grinding and milling that must have been part of its making. The cumulative impression is both robust  and delicate, highlighting physical presence and the play of light.


Other sculptures continue the dialogue between hard and soft, angular and molded. Anna Sew Hoy juxtaposes folded clay with crinkly tissue or fabric. Sam Orlando Miller uses faceted mirrors and Arik Levy has built a rounded specular sculpture that catches light and reflects the surrounding artwork. Hovering somewhere between sculpture and painting, Ruth Laskey’s delicate weaving derives much of its beauty from its manufacture. The fabric is both the subject and substance of the work. The image is embedded into the weaving, emerging from the fabric’s very construction.


Anna Sew Hoy. Tissue Dispensing (single), 2012. Courtesy of the artist and Romer Young Gallery.


Flection is an exhibit for reflection. It invites the visitor to look, and look again, working one’s way through the folds. It’s well worth the trip to Jackson Square.


Hedge Gallery is located at 501 Pacific Avenue, and is open Tuesday-Friday 11am-6pm and Saturday 11am-5pm.


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