artists & participants
At the core of the artwork displayed in Modulated Abstraction is a concerted effort to draw away from the idea of the singular abstract image. Acts of repetition, alteration, and combination can lead to a larger and more intricate relationship from a simple premise.
This can be realized, for example, through the implementation of a series of rules: Sol Lewitt has limited himself to deriving forms from a rectangular solid, in which a basic shape is reconfigured with varying planes of color. Fred Sandback often employs colored yarn as his sole sculptural medium. In his etchings, he demonstrates his strategic process with four variations of two diagonal lines. In Robert Mangold's variations on four semi-circles, the artist utilizes the same form and line construction, altering and rotating the basic color scheme, playing with sensations of movement and completeness. In all of these cases, the focus is to discern the possibilities of formal limitations.
As seen in his various color wedge prints, Ellsworth Kelly reuses one shape, but lends seriality to it by altering the color and scale. In a similar manner, Josef Albers addresses the square. Albers' interest lies in perceptions of hues of the same color, as in his White Line Squares, where he experiments with a color's temperature by varying greys and blacks.
Donald Judd's sculptural approach is to utilize standard forms to divide color. His Lascaux sculptures, composed of like-size components with varied color, force the viewer to reinvestigate their structure. Over the length of the sculpture, some parts coalesce while others contrast vividly.
Carl Andre addresses associated forms, often with units made of the same material. His metal floor sculptures belay the ubiquitous grid found in nature; in them, one can see not only geometric forms, but also how they are made, and occasionally how they are fragmented. Imi Knoebel approaches form with a certain concreteness, using color as an object, where a dominant color plane is inflected by additional color bars and shapes.
Richard Tuttle's delicate abstractions tend to refer to a basic matrix. What separates the members of a group are the whimsical ways that Tuttle plays with the medium, revealing a striking sameness coupled with a quirky individuality. The artist can also invite the viewer into the creative process, letting someone else decide a work's final configuration, as in Two With Any Two.
All of these artists utilize a variety of approaches in working through the discipline of repeated elements. The result is a rich complexity that emerges from reduced premises.
Sol Le Witt, Fred Sandback, Robert Mangold, Ellsworth Kelly, Josef Albers, Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Imi Knoebel, Richard Tuttle ...