Galerie Richard New York is pleased to announce “Painting Going Into Three Dimensions” from October 25 through November 24, 2012. The exhibition features Bram Bogart, Ron Gorchov and Takesada Matsutani. Working separately in three continents, Europe, America, and Asia, these three artists in the 60’s moved from two dimensional to three dimensional painting and have been continuously developing the style since. They wanted to make the material “alive”, experience new ways to enjoy a painting, make it more sensual, develop new relationships between colors, composition and texture in painting.
Bram Bogart began working by painting commercial buildings, which gave him in-depth knowledge of materials that allowed him to freely experiment with the medium in new ways. Bogart began experimenting in Paris by mixing oil paints with water-based paints, and from 1954 this method began to produce a thicker texture. At that time in Paris, other artists added some texture on the paintings, but in fact Bogart was mostly influenced by Van Gogh, who applied a touch of texture for each color. In Belgium in 1960, he developed toward the third dimension in painting in a unique way. As he explained himself, “After Paris, I developed the problem of the space by using large zones, strips or blocks, monochromes which allowed me to accentuate the intensity of my colors. It is at this moment, that besides the adoption of the work on the ground, I had to increase the resistance of my supports and I began, in a systematical way, to stick Jute fabric on panels and even to strengthen their back by wooden crosspieces. This preparation was necessary to avoid the tears that would have been caused by the weight of the material. At the question; the material. Is it the main thing?, he replied, ”No, I think that the main part, it is the writing and the construction of the picture. I try hard to never do twice the same gesture, to not produce twice the same sign or the same strip. That‘s why, the material, if it is thick, when I plant there more or less profoundly my signs, allows me a great deal of variations. But the texture is there in order to serve my painting; It is not the whole of my painting... I work with the texture, but if nothing was written there or built, itself, it would be nothing, it would be a dead thing.” He considers as a painter, not a sculptor: “There is no dimension related to sculpture in my works. The third dimension is the depth of the paint layer.” (1)
Ron Gorchov, established in New York since 1953, wanted to change the way we experienced paintings. He made diptychs but was not satisfied. He was interested in Frank Stella’s shaped canvases, Richard Smith’s hyperbolic three-dimensional canvases and Al Held’s “dancing angels”. Gorchov details the nature of his own preoccupations and decisions, “(I saw) that even if you start building a structure onto a two-dimensional rectangle or a square, it‘s still a rectangle or a square – it isn’t a major change. But I thought I could use that idea. Since I didn’t have any woodworking skills, in 1966 I made the first negative curve structure with a wire dipped into a plastic liquid. And I realized that the whole thing got stronger. And it could make less acute corners. I also discovered that, with the new structure, it creates an even tension throughout the whole surface. What I finally learned was the right way to build it was to start with a rectangle, and the curved part has to spring off it. Therefore, the structure itself becomes an argument to the rectangle, and that interested me.(2) As the small canvases are usually more curbed than the large ones, he experiments how shapes could stand into various curved spaces and he concluded that each shape can perfectly fit into only one curved space. The perception of every shape or combination of two or more shapes onto this concave and convex pictorial space is changing every time you move. Even without moving, the illusionistic effect which push dark colors on a background and light colored surfaces on the front ground is challenged by their real three dimensional position on the canvas. Ron Gorchov‘s paintings confront the viewer to a complex experimentation of enjoying a painting that is enlightening. At the same time Gorchov’s use of a very liquid paint, superposing various layers with such transparency and gentleness that he seems to caress the curved canvas emphasizes the sensual feeling embodied by the canvas shape.
Takesada Matsutani explained himself about the genesis and development of his works. I have always been interested in looking for another material than painting and in creating something different in painting. In the Iate 50’s I dropped wood glue on the canvas, which was a new material we could find on market places, and I created non-figurative works. I presented them to Yoshihara, the leader of the Gutai Association. He was very severe and criticized my work by saying, “you must do something that nobody has made before you, something interesting”. A friend who worked in a laboratory of a hospital studied the blood platelets in cellular tissues. As I was interested in the organic forms, he often allowed me to watch at the microscope germs and cells. I was fascinated by the mystery of the forms propagating and separating by viscously moving. I thought day and night by asking myself how to manage to plastically make these organic shapes and I also wanted to surprise the members of the Gutai group. Accidentally, I noticed that the poured wood glue dried on surface forming like a skin. At this time in 1961, I deliberately poured the wood glue on the painting by putting it down in shape round as mochi (small rice pudding) and I quickly aired it with a ventilator. When it was half dried, I cut the surface exactly in two and I returned the painting. I let the glue flow and dry. Then the shape fixed as a wide open mouth. And to make the round shape I blew the air inside with a straw and the surface of skin swelled and became a soft globe. The wood glue of milky color became transparent in time and the inside of the skin looked as the inside of the human body. When I color them in white, they became like bosoms, some look like inflated burns, and they began to adhere as viscous human beings. The world of germs that I liked was realized with the viscous wood glue. I have continued to pour some wood glue with this technique, and from year 1972, I began to cover the surface of the globe in black with graphite. I became captivated by the wood glue as a connivence between this organic matter and my sense of sensuality that I have wanted to instill in my artworks (3).
(1) Bram Bogart, Fête de la Matière”, Bram Bogart in conversation with Marcel Paquet, 1999
(2) Ron Gorchov in conversation with Robert Storr and Phong Bui”, The Brrooklyn Rail, Sept.2006
(3) Takesada Matsutani: Matière et Sensualité, unpublished text, 1994