Roland Flexner, “Cuts”
D’Amelio Terras, New York
September 2 – 27, 2008
D’Amelio Terras is pleased to present Cuts, a solo show by gallery artist Roland Flexner. For more than a decade, Flexner’s drawings have relied upon the potential of his materials compounded with chance and intention, nature and artifice— from meticulous ‘ink bubble drawings’ which capture a spherically-rendered burst of ink and soap to his Suminagashi inspired drawings, rooted in the Japanese technique of transferring floating ink onto paper via water and gelatin.
Cuts is the first exhibition that shows Flexner cropping his Sumi ink abstractions. Until now, the artist has presented the entirety of these drawings uncut as the result of an event; in this work, Flexner locates his image and slices the paper down to the millimeter in order to offer the most pictorial inclusion. The artist mounts the drawings on a wooden back and foot-stand and arranges them alongside viewing stones, also known as Suiseki or Biseki. Both Flexner’s drawings and these picture stones have been transformed by the unpredictable flow of water. Microscopic details in the water-pushed ink of the drawings suggest a galactic expanse that echo the glacial movements which have sculpted the sediment swirls in the stones for millions of years. Flexner’s drawings challenge the viewer to reckon with associative forms like the familiarity to landscape and the behavioral patterning of the ink that often alludes to representation.
Flexner’s contemplative display pairs two organic forms that have both been realized by a decisive cut. Lumps of jasper or GuoHua stones have been dissected, presenting a smooth cross-section of suggestive earthen configuration and the drawing plane has been sliced on the four-sides of the paper, bluntly truncating the ripples and streams of ink. Ripples in water are a reoccurring theme in Flexner’s work. Here, they extend the cuts to the medium of film, opening and closing in a butterfly sequence of edited still frames from the classic black and white movie, Sancho Dayu. Juxtaposing over 250 stones and drawings expands ideas of influence and inspiration of nature’s infinite possibility. As Barry Schwabsky wrote, “one might speak of Flexner’s ‘all-at-once’. Like a snapshot, each one of these drawings is the record of an instant, of a single complex event. But the action is poignant.”