How Long is Now. The artist creates his paintings by weaving geometric forms that he then stretches over raw canvas, accumulating individual fragments into complete works that balance positive and negative space, textures and the materiality of the canvas with the artist’s woven forms.
Brent Wadden: How Long is Now
London—Pace London is delighted to present How Long is Now, Brent Wadden’s first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom. Presented on the first floor gallery of 6 Burlington Gardens, the exhibition will be on view from 25 September to 31 October 2015.
Wadden creates his paintings by weaving geometric forms that he then stretches over raw canvas, accumulating individual fragments into complete works that balance positive and negative space, textures and the materiality of the canvas with the artist’s woven forms. Influenced by First Nation, folk and Bauhaus textiles as well as painting movements such as Abstract Expressionism, Wadden complicates hierarchies of media and disciplines with his work, throwing the distinction between high and low into flux.
“I liked the tension by having the weaving and the paintings in the same room, the language that existed or was created by having both of the things, like something like oil painting which most people would consider a high art or high craft, and then the weavings which is sort of like this lesser thing where the textiles could just be on the floor, or whatever, people don't really respect them as art. It's like more of a disposable medium and I wanted to create that dialogue in the gallery space between the two mediums.” Nicolas Trembley in conversation with Brent Wadden, 2015.
For his exhibition at Pace, the artist has created a new body of five works that respond to the scale of the gallery at 6 Burlington Gardens. The works initially appear as hard-edged, two-tone abstractions, but close inspection reveals an intricate matrix of colours and textures as well as interplay between the warp and weft of the canvas as well as that of the artist’s own weavings. These subtle variations stem from Wadden’s reliance on second-hand and leftover fibres; as he exhausts one supply while working, he begins working with another of a different nature so his works become composed of an array of acrylic, cotton and wool.
Wadden’s attention to texture and weave reveals the depth of Agnes Martin’s influence on his practice. Like Martin, Wadden recognizes canvas not only as a support surface but one that has tactile qualities that affect the composition. His paintings embrace the warp and weft of the canvas’s threads, playing them against the surfaces he has woven himself.
“Brent Wadden’s works stretch and pull on opposing forces—at once material and conceptual, perceptual and logical. They yield tension.” T’ai Smith, 2015 essay, Stretching Painting: On Tension in the Work of Brent Wadden, Brent Wadden: About Time, Peres Projects, Almine Rech Gallery, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Pace London 2015; page 9.
Wadden’s turn toward labour-intensive methods and techniques situates him within a group of artists who have resisted technology in favour of more physical, craft-based media. He sees his paintings as accumulating the residual energy of his materials, his labour and the different categorical translations that happen as he transforms raw craft material into a painting. Rather than reject the distinctions between textile and painting, craft and fine art, he embraces each, weaving them into his own aesthetic that resists fixed boundaries between media.
Wadden’s first monograph, About Time, featuring essays by art historian T’ai Smith and curator Nicolas Trembley, is currently in production, with aims to be unveiled at Pace London this October.
Image: Brent Wadden
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Opening: 25 September 2015, 6pm
6 Burlington Gardens, London
Tue - Sat 10am to 6pm