Martin Art Gallery
Veit Stratmann: The Muhlenberg Floor
Working with his design plan of 224 circular elements, Stratmann covers the floor of the Martin Art Gallery. Each circle is approximately 32” in diameter and topped with two different shades of carpet symmetrically separated by a thin aluminum strip. Guided by the metal strip, no two elements are oriented in the same direction. They also are juxtaposed to maximize color contrast.
Each element is large enough for two people to stand on simultaneously. Visitors are encouraged to walk on them and wander throughout the gallery. Decision making and questions will arise. Simply look at the elements, or walk on them? If a viewer chooses to walk on them, is he now part of the installation, or still a viewer? When multiple visitors are in the gallery, how do they move to accommodate each other?
The Muhlenberg Floor is the third in a series of Floor Projects for Stratmann. His first, in 2010, was at LiveInYourHead—Curatorial Institute of the Geneva University of Art and Design. He followed in 2011 with another installation in Galerie Chez Valentin, Paris. Stratmann feels the Martin Art Gallery has presented a new set of challenges and sees it not only as a gallery space but also a teaching tool.
Veit Stratmann was born in Bochum, Germany in 1960 and currently lives in Paris. He has exhibited his work extensively throughout Europe and the U.S. and currently teaches at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts de Lyon. Veit Stratmann: The Muhlenberg Floor opens March 12 with a reception to meet the artist, 4:30 – 6 PM in the Martin Art Gallery, Baker Center for the Arts. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. Gallery hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon – 8:00 p.m., additional hours by appointment.
Artist rendering: M.A.G. Plan I (detail) colored pencil on paper, 2013
The Martin Art Gallery opens the spring semester with Girl Band, a group show by mature, contemporary painters whose work is simply described by guest curator Stephanie Buhmann— “Abstraction rooted in color and line.”
Buhman explains that each of the artists in Girl Band stands on the shoulders of non-objective painter Agnes Martin who from 1960 onward developed a signature style rooted in lines and grids. Many contemporary abstract artists continue to explore the simple structures and rhythms that vertical or horizontal lines create; they believe in the expressive range that can be achieved. Although Badt, Keller, Shapiro and Uchiyama vary significantly in their stylistic approaches, they have much in common. Above all, they share a concentrated devotion to a repeating line as a predominant compositional feature and they all take color personally.
Badt has worked in abstraction since the early 1970s and her paintings grow from specific personal experiences. “I work with a woven matrix of string that demands that I am always on the surface of the painting,” she states. Her gesture is restricted and her lines of color accumulate into layers. Keller avoids nature-based color and prefers acrylic paint that offers colors made for automotive and military purposes. She has worked in abstraction since the 1960s and draws inspiration from chance and repetition. Conversely, Shapiro’s palette is sparked by natural objects and her work is largely inspired by the landscape that surrounds her. She has worked for decades in painting, drawing, and printmaking and now finds collage has begun to play a role for her in both concept and method. Uchiyama’s color concepts are also derived from nature, particularly referencing the psychology and mystery of light. Her paintings are horizontal banners of rich color. During her 25-year career she has settled on a format that is derived from the layering of earth and sky.
Girl Band opens January 15 at noon. A reception to meet the artists and guest curator will be Wednesday, January 22, 4:30 – 6 PM in the Martin Art Gallery Baker Center for the Arts. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. Gallery hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon – 8:00 p.m., additional hours by appointment.
Julie Shapiro, Crop up September, 2013. Oil on canvas, 42” x 40”
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