Kim McLean, Lionel Gilbert & Harry Wilks

Opening reception: August 21 from 6-8pm

August 19, 2010 through September 26, 2010

Carrie Haddad Photographs is pleased to announce an exhibition of the works of Kim McLean, Lionel Gilbert & Harry Wilks, on view from Aug 19 to Sep 26, 2010. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, August 21 from 6 to 8 pm. All are invited to attend. Kim McLean’s images capture virtual worlds in which monuments redolent of hardship and triumph mingle with artifacts and sculptures of artists past. In one work a battleship is placed amidst a tempestuous sea of illegibly tiny text; in another the Russian Constructivist Palace of Labor inhabits an environment made up of intricate lattices and Ferris wheels. Employing an architectural software program, McLean designs these figures such that they can be turned in space as solid objects. In a process McLean terms “mapping,” the artist covers these icons of culture and history with surfaces that provide a stark contrast to the forms beneath—for instance, pages from a Greene County phone book shroud McLean’s models of a USN battleship and a looming Louise Bourgeois sculpture . This visual richness through layering mirrors a conceptual superimposition: in these works, the banality of the small-town phone book page is set against—and in conjunction with—paragons of grandeur. Furthermore, as the flat page wraps around sculptural form, surface and depth are cast in tension, lending these virtual worlds the appearance of a physical reality. Sometimes, the text of the page is obscured through scale and depth, and the meaning the words hold is elided by the authority of form—both its sheer physicality and its conceptual potency. Depth is confusing; the nature of these virtual spaces—the spatial relationships between objects—is in places indiscernible. The effect of this spatial ambiguity is a lack of resolution: the physical reality of these constructions never fully materializes. Rather, McLean suspends these forms in virtuality, sustaining their power to confuse and evoke. Lionel Gilbert moves back and forth between abstraction and figuration, at once describing specific objects and presenting flat, unrecognizable forms. The artist, born in 1912, was a prolific painter from the nineteen-thirties until his recent death. For years, Gilbert worked as a mural artist and an illustrator, creating images that not only represented reality, but documented history. In the sixties, Gilbert’s direction shifted: no longer using the paint to tell stories, Gilbert began to explore what the paint itself—its materiality, color—can reveal, independent of its descriptive capacity. The works here on display call to mind Matisse, Braque, and Leger in their cubist sensibility and handling of space. In Suggested Figures, flat forms, hard-edged yet curvaceous, compose a spatially indecipherable heap. As the title indicates, the collage-like mass evokes the human figure, broken down, refracted. Although this painting is thick with the legacy of progressive artists from times past, it subverts the rules by which these artists worked: Gilbert’s work exhibits a fresh frivolity, a certain freedom that his predecessors refused. This freedom manifests itself in a joyful celebration of Gilbert’s material and its basic qualities: color and consistency. In Still Life with Orange Cloth, crude, thickly outlined balls of fruit slide off the table’s surface along with the juicy orange tablecloth, registered with broad, haphazard strokes. Here, as elsewhere, playful handling of paint takes precedence over spatial accuracy. In Table with Fruit, Gilbert’s muted palette presents a stark contrast to Still Life with Orange Cloth’s punchy color. Yet in this limited range Gilbert finds unexpectedly diverse shades of gray, recalling Giorgio Morandi’s understated still lifes—pinnacles of painterly elegance. The soft tension between warm and cool hues makes colors glow, and painted forms become heavy and sculptural. Harry Wilks has been hauling his cameras up to New York City rooftops for 25 years. From this vantage point, he has created an urban fantasy land which diverges from observable reality. In his rooftop photographs, he reveals an urban landscape that people wouldn’t ordinarily see on their own. Complementing his passion for architecture is an ongoing project photographing the Hudson Valley. Wilks’ photographs are included in museum, corporate and private collections.

The gallery is located at 318 Warren Street in Hudson, NY. For more information about the exhibit please contact us at 518-828-7655. Click here to read an online interview with KIM McLEAN

Kim McLean

Harry Wilks

Lionel Gilbert