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beta pictoris gallery is pleased to announce Yoshishige Furukawa – Black Rubber Sheet, the first exhibition of Furukawa’s work with the gallery.
Yoshishige Furukawa spent his career testing the limits of painting through a dedicated engagement with American art trends and unconventional materials. beta pictoris gallery is thrilled to present works from Furukawa’s Black Rubber Sheet series, a body of work which began and evolved through the 1970s.
A formal evolution is evident in a chronological examination of the works from Furukawa’s Black Rubber Sheet series. The earliest paintings are monochrome yet playful due to Furukawa’s use of rough-hewn geometric shapes, where edges of appliquéd canvas are allowed to fray, and grommets and the heads of nails run a wavering line across the composition. White paint unifies these elements while highlighting their forms; as time progresses, however, Furukawa rejects this whitewashing in order to showcase the inherent colors and textures of his materials. Raw canvas ripples across these picture planes, alongside sheets of rubber whose uneven surfaces, flaws, and rips are elevated into artistic gestures. The anthropomorphic aspect of these works becomes increasingly evident as the series progresses: peachy-pink canvas resembles skin; a crevice formed between grommet-pinched sheets of rubber appears like a corset.
Furukawa wrote in 1997 that, “I am most interested in developing a visual space with color and forms on a visual plane…When I am out walking, I may see a road, a construction site, working people, a tree, or the sky, and I try to incorporate the feeling of these visual physical things in my work. All of them have the power to cause me to ponder the relationship between the physical shape or material and mental reaction.” In the Black Rubber Sheet series, Furukawa’s experience of the 70s—New York City streets, Minimalist art—is distilled into these evocative works, which gesture at many things while remaining ambiguous, and a bit coy.
Japanese artist Yoshishige Furukawa’s paintings shown in the Black Rubber Sheet exhibition date from 1972 to 1976, and are part of, or relate to, the artist’s important and rare black-rubber-sheets series created while living in New York, where the artist moved to from Japan in 1963. The non-color of black and the solid sense of the material of rubber reflected a rather reticent and ascetic impression of 1970’s art. Despite this, the various variations that were woven by the black geometric forms in triangles, squares and polygons continued to evoke dynamic senses of motion and expression that were alike in appearances but different in nature from the regularly repetitive element inherent to Minimalism.
Furukawa’s Oeuvre was recently the subject of a major retrospective at the Fukuoka Prefectural Museum of Art. The paintings shown here were included in said retrospective, and several of them are included in the exhibition’s publication.
Yoshishige Furukawa (b. 1921 in Fukuoka, Japan; d. 2008 in Kanagawa, Japan) earned his BFA in painting at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (now Tokyo University of the Arts) in 1943. He moved to the United States in 1963, and spent the subsequent decades between the United States and his native Japan.
His work is in the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, the National Museum of Art in Osaka, the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, the Fukuoka Art Museum in Fukuoka, and the Saga Prefectural Art Museum, among others. In the United States, Furukawa’s work has been exhibited in institutions including the Albright-Knox Museum, and during his lifetime he received two grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.
beta pictoris gallery is pleased to announce Manuel Caeiro * M I K A D O * , the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery.
Manuel Caeiro explores the limits of architectural forms in his complex abstract paintings. In the works in * M I K A D O *, the shapes and lines of his previous works are extended into increasingly dazzling, and playful, compositions.
Architectural imagery and signage have long been staples of Caeiro’s visual vocabulary. Planes and other geometric shapes are his subjects, along with thin rectangular forms like caution signs. In the works in * M I K A D O *, this imagery is inserted into voids, removing the connection to man-made spaces. Instead, these new works function like allegories of painting. Some compositions, with planes like stretched canvases, resemble perilously-arranged artist’s storage; in other works, these painting-like shapes appear to topple like a house of cards. Balance, whether making a house of cards or painting, is one move away from falling apart.
The title * M I K A D O * continues the allusion to games of dexterity. Though one might first think of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera of the same name, in the case of Caeiro’s paintings, the more apt reference is a game more commonly known in the United States as “pick-up sticks.” In this game, sticks painted with various colored stripes are strewn at random across a surface to be carefully picked up, one by one, without disturbing the rest. The construction sign elements of Caeiro’s paintings function like these sticks; he layers and removes them skillfully, in a balancing act that strives to avoid pitfalls while veering dangerously close to disruption. Caeiro in his paintings toys with the tension between real and imaginary space, teasing the eye with these unnerving compositions. Painting, too, can be a perilous game.
Manuel Caeiro (b. 1975 in Évora, Portugal; lives and works in Lisbon) studied at the Gabriel Pereira College of Arts, Évora and the University of Fine Arts in Lisbon. His work has been exhibited at the Modern Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Barrié de la Maza Foundation in La Corunna, Spain, and the Contemporary Art Museum, La Coruña, Spain, among others. He has had solo exhibitions at the Palácio Vila Flor, Guimarães,Portugal, Lurixs Gallery in Rio de Janeiro, Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporânea, and the Portuguese National Museum of Natural History, both in Lisbon, Portugal. His work is in the collections of the Culturgest and the PLMJ Foundation, both in Lisbon, and the Banco Sabadell in Barcelona, in addition to private collections all over the world.
Barbara (*1940) and Michael Leisgen (*1944)
In the 1970s, the early works of Barbara & Michael Leisgen came as a counterpoint to conceptual photography, notably led by the typological school of Bernd & Hilla Becher in Düsseldorf. The different works illustrated hereunder are part of the Mimesis series, located in practices in operation since the early 1960s : the recording of a natural trace, research concerning the body and experiments related to Land Art. Barbara Leisgen’s silhouette is set, and leaves its fleeting trace in landscapes; the actions involve stretching out her arms to follow the contours of undulating countryside (the Paysage mimétique and Mimesis series), or to include the sun in an arc drawn by her arm while she is seen from behind in the center of the image. This is not merely imitating nature through its gestures; it describes, in the sense of tracing, and channels it as well. The (re)appropriation of the landscape is subjective, the silhouette of Barbara Leisgen being displayed in the landscape, inscribing its mark therein is ephemeral.
The pictures recall the visions of German Romanticism, notably the pictures of Caspar David Friedrich - his painting Morgenlicht being the figurative model for the Leisgen's Mime-sis works, although Friedrich's paradigm for considering nature as sacred is amended. One might see this as an anthropocentric romantic perspective such as the French Romantic view gave us. And yet, despite the sublime aspect of the photographed scenes and the preciousness of the prints which, beyond black and white, allow us to imagine a range of colors in the dazzling light, their images also refer back to the naivety and intrinsic nostalgia of souvenir photographs. The actual viewer is placed in a specular perception, being led to look at a woman posing in a natural expanse. By doing so, Barbara & Michael Leisgen are the precursors of current landscape approaches, relying simultaneously on a modernist and postmodernist viewpoint.
Barbara and Michael Leisgen's work is discussed and mentioned in numerous publications, including "Feminism Art Theory: An Anthology 1968 - 2014" (2015) by Hilary Robinson, "Video Art Historicized: Traditions and Negotiations (Studies in Art Historiography)" by Malin Hedlin Hayden (2015), "Une introduction a l'art contemporain" by Philippe Coubetergues (2005), "Le Corps photographié" by Jean-Paul Blanchet, Dimitri Konstantinidis, ... (1996), "Le sentiment de paysage à la fin du XXème siècle" by Bernard Ceysson (1977), "Chroniques de l'Art Vivant" (1974), etc.
Their work has been the subject of several publications - mostly in conjunction with exhibitions, such as "Les Ecritures du Soleil (Sonnenschriften)" (1978), "Die Ägyptische Wand" (1980), "Stellungsspiel" (1987), "De la beauté usée : Barbara et Michael Leisgen, [exposition, Paris, Maison européenne de la photographie, 10 septembre-9 novembre 1997]" (1997), "Kunst-Landschaft 1969-2000" (2000), "Zeitsprung" (2000), and "Positions" (2006), amidst others.
Mimesis - Kornfelder [Mimetic - Cornfields]
1971, silver gelatin print on baryta paper, 4 elements
each 35 7/16 by 55 1/8 in. (90 by 140 cm)
Mark Flood (born 1957 in Houston, TX) got his BA from Rice University in Houston. His work has been exhibited internationally in Spain, the UK, France, Italy, Greece and Germany. In 2012, Luxembourg & Dayan gallery in New York held a survey of Flood’s seminal work of the 1980’s, bringing together more than one hundred pieces of Flood’s paintings and collages.
Flood’s work can be found in the collections of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Dallas Museum of Art,the Menil Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Birmingham Museum of Art.
His work is widely exhibited throughout the United States and abroad. Described as an “agent provocateur and enfant terrible - a painter and a prankster," Flood is "known for his fierce intelligence, wry wit, and undeniable talent.” Beginning with his paintings and collages from the 1980s -- while he was in the punk rock band Culturcide -- Flood has been a raucous cultural critic, attacking one and all: low-brow and high culture. The artist's work is both a powerful lens on America and a sophisticated, anarchic continuation of high art’s love affair with the readymade.” Flood’s collages and collection of detritus recall Bruce Connor’s careful constructions and cataloging of the mass obsessions of his day. Flood, however, seems to have a split personality: one half punk-propaganda master and one half elegant lace painter. Using toxic colors and combinations, Flood started making paintings from paint soaked lace pressed against a canvas, showing the age and wear endured by the battered lace before its last incarnation in printmaking. Devoid of irony, the lace paintings have a formal beauty that transcends Flood’s earlier oeuvre, while still delivering a punch in the gut to traditional heroic notions of painting. Flood attributes this shift in style in part to critic Dave Hickey’s 1993 book The Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty. “Hickey made me realize that I made ugly art,” says Flood. “But that’s what I thought art was about—if you made something beautiful, you were suspect. … When I discovered how to make something beautiful, I no longer needed any art bureaucracy.”