Gallerynote 3/2001

April 5 to May 5, 2001

serves as both title and program for this exhibition. Works from eight of the gallery’s artists are on view. These form a demanding and ambiguous field of relationships. An interplay is referred to that plays itself out on many levels, not corresponding to any preset text. The artistic autonomy and the presence of the work and artist’s personality are not encroached upon. The guideline is an economy of means, a moderation in terms of the effort expended. Concentration and alertness, the capability of the imagination are challenged. Art constructs reality. Visual intelligence incessantly orders and interprets the world of appearances – a basic theme of visual art. Perspective-based, distanced is something achieved daily by the individual and society – interpretation creates meaning.

Represented with works in this show are Rita McBride, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Agnes Martin, James Bishop, Joseph Egan, Robert Ryman, Fred Sandback and Richard Tuttle. The artistic strategies generate their own independent logic of interlinked interaction. Recurrent, internal customized structures correlate with external customized references, which in individual cases are intentionally set and defined.

'Exact and Diminishing', a work by Sylvia Plimack Mangold from 1976, illustrates all theory in a concise manner. A tile-covered floor is depicted, painted in trompe l'oeil manner using central perspective. Two painted rulers are integrated into the image. On the left edge of the painting, a ruler measures the picture format true to scale. The ruler in the center of the painting is aligned in perspective, in keeping with the fictionality of the painting’s three-dimensionality, the produced illusion. Both levels of reality are consistent in themselves and envelop the viewer in a fruitful paradox.


RITA McBRIDE is jointly represented by the Mai 36 and Annemarie Verna galleries. The American artist (born 1960) was presented in a representative exhibition in the two galleries in 1999. Now comes a show of new works in the Mai 36 Gallery (April 5 – May 26, 2001). A further exhibition with installative works is planned for the Annemarie Verna Gallery in early 2002.

Rita McBride gives names to her exhibitions; in this case, 'Machines'. The material for the form and meaning of her work is taken from the modern, urban lebensraum. In the history of Modern Architecture and Design, as well as in its/her both heroic and trivial formulation, she finds societal symbols and forms of interaction portrayed. With precision and cleverness, she selects the patterns for her objects and installations and makes use of opportunities for alienation to disclose suppressed and veiled potentials and capacities. Commodities, architectural fragments, architectural quotations are robbed of their instrumental suitability and turn into an art object. The alterations of material and context, at times also a reduction to scale, demonstrate this mutation into a symbolic sign. In so doing, it remains at an iridescent shimmering between utility value and expressive value. This is less a critique of Modernism and Functionalism. Rather, the aesthetic analysis points to the pluralism of the functional intention. Formal and functional calculuses mercilessly uncover their own historicity. The question is posed whether present and presence are to be understood as a rhetorical figure and whether modernity is at the mercy of an interminable regress.