Richard Rezac + Gary Stephan

Kabinett 1 + 2
08.29 — 10.16.10

Kabinett 1 + 2

It is with great pleasure that we begin our 2010-2011 season with an exhibition of two noteworthy American artists. On August 29th, devening projects + editions presents Kabinett 1 + 2: Richard Rezac and Gary Stephan; please join us for the opening reception on Sunday from 4 – 7. Initiating a year-long series of chamber exhibitions, Kabinetts 1 – 7 will bring together highly diverse artists whose unique positions have the potential to affect the meaning of their contextual neighbors. Kabinett 1 + 2 with Richard Rezac and Gary Stephan opens on August 29th; then on September 25th a completely new installation of work from both artists will be revealed. At the opening of this second exhibition Gary Stephan and Richard Rezac will give an informal gallery talk on the nature of their work within this project. The discussion free and open to the public.

Pairing New York painter Gary Stephan with Chicago sculptor Richard Rezac seems a natural starting point for an exhibition-based conversation about comparative and associative discourse. For more than three decades, they’ve each defined a highly diverse and idiosyncratic language of formal invention that continues to direct viewers to new places. One objective of the Kabinetts is to present exhibitions that draw attention to how one constructs meaning between art works, particularly when that relationship is not direct. Stephan and Rezac present an excellent opportunity to consider how perception and matter can act as defining elements in how a work is “read.”

Rooted in modernist precepts, Stephan’s paintings never stay comfortably within the strict parameters of those principles. He is continually engineering spatial conundrums that assert form while subverting the restrictions of the picture plane, ultimately leaving his viewer in a positive state of wonder. Stephan’s paintings are full of decoys and deflections; visual elements direct one way while mysteriously disappearing behind another. Nothing is fixed or static and that state of flux is the dynamic engine in his practice. Gary Stephan spends his time between two locations: New York City and the rural upstate town of Stone Ridge. His paintings subtly expose the complex nature of both environments. In many of his paintings one can find the dull gray of concrete, or the silvery shimmer of pools of rainwater on a sidewalk, or the tarry blacks of asphalt. But there is also evidence of the rich earthy browns and fecund greens found in the landscape of his own backyard in Stone Ridge. As a painter, Gary Stephan is the architect of structural complexities; the assembly of those systems reveals a masterful understanding of his visual language and his chosen medium.

Gary Stephan has been showing his painting and sculpture since the late sixties in the United States and Europe. He has had solo shows in New York at Bykert Gallery, Mary Boone Gallery, Hirschl and Adler and Marlborough Gallery; in Los Angeles at Margo Leavin Gallery and Daniel Weinberg Gallery; and in Berlin at Galerie Keinzle and Gmeiner among many others. His work can be found in the collections of The Guggenheim Museum of Art, The Metropolitan and the Museum of Modern Art, as well as museums nationwide. He is the recipient of awards from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches in the MFA program at School of Visual Arts in NYC and is currently represented by Kienzle Art Foundation in Berlin.

Within Richard Rezac’s studied practice, stunningly understated sculptures show his instinctual awareness of how one filters and mediates visual and emotional information. Taking cues from architecture, classical sculpture, nature and numerous other sources less physical, Rezac takes great care to reduce those starting points to a refined distillation. Once a sculptural form is delineated through detailed drawings, material and assembly concerns are addressed. Richard Rezac has developed this practiced craft through decades of studied attention to every concern; that focus is continually made present when encountering the work.

Some of the more recent pieces have a quiet, gestural aspect that’s triggered by its compositional asymmetry. The diagonal orientation of these pieces sets off a feeling of rotation or circularity that lifts directly from the stillness felt in every other part of the work. We also find a more evident two-dimensionality in the newer sculpture. Parallel to the wall, these reliefs and shallow objects have a peculiar topography that leads one to think about painting. The persuasive frontaliity of this work is enhanced by the perceptual complication produced by the reflectivity of their surfaces. Aluminum, nickel plating and high-gloss pigments bring the viewer into the work through its surface planes. Like Gary Stephan, Richard Rezac brings the alliance of form, material and construction to a level of meditative focus. The viewer benefits from such careful and thoughtful measures.

Richard Rezac has received the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Rome Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, Louis Comfort Tiffany Award and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award. Since 2000, he has had solo exhibitions at the Portland Art Museum, Oregon, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, Feature Inc. New York, Marc Foxx in Los Angeles and James Harris Gallery, Seattle, Gahlberg Gallery at the College of DuPage and included in group exhibitions at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Smart Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Block Museum at Northwestern University, the Yale Art Gallery and the Kunstverein Recklinghausen, Germany, among many others. His sculpture is in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Dallas Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, and the Smart Museum of Art, among others. He is Adjunct Professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago the both the Painting and Sculpture Departments.

Kabinett 1 + 2 will feature new editions by both artists.

  • Gary and Richard
  • Richard Rezac and Gary Stephen
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