This month at Pace Gallery, James Turrell marks his new work at the gallery’s New York flagship with an accompanying curatorial effort, assembling a show of works by the American painter Ad Reinhardt. Reinhardt, whose own work in the exploration of light and perception through color, serves as a foundational point of entry to Turrell’s work, and here is offered an extended point of reflection in relation to the light and space master’s own work.
The presentation, titled Color Out of Darkness, features paintings illuminated by a lighting concept conceived by Turrell, and which presents Reinhardt’s works in a dim, but eerily luminescent context, allowing the subtle variances in shading and color to emerge slowly but surely from the surface. Much in the same way that Turrell’s work uses context and situation to shape and sculpt the viewer’s reception of a work, Reinhardt’s works, suspended in this dim glow, allow, and perhaps even demand, a lingering, meditative consideration. The show examines the ways that both artists explore the decentralization of the object in their practices, and Turrell’s lighting concept for the show will foreground the experiential nature of Reinhardt’s work.
Reinhardt, who is widely considered a forefather of Minimalism and Conceptualism, began developing his distinct language of abstraction in the 1930s. While his early works featured bold amalgams of shapes and forms, the artist went on to create his geometrically minded, monochromatic “red” and “blue” paintings and later his “black” paintings. Works from these series figure in Pace’s exhibition, with Turrell’s lighting concept highlighting the nuances and idiosyncrasies of Reinhardt’s abstractions within his monochromatic paintings.
The gentle glow of both Turrell’s lights and Reinhardt’s paintings here present a striking point of connectionin the act of looking. Turrell presents not only an homage to Reinhardt as an experiential artist, and his designs of the rooms within the presentation can be considered new works, but equally to his thought alone, to the experience and perception of work as equally subject to the artist’s framing. As curator, Turrell cultivates a scenography for this show that beckons viewers into the depths of Reinhardt’s abstractions.
The show closed March 19th.
– D. Creahan
Ad Reinhardt at Pace [Exhibition Site]