White Columns

White Columns Online 'Feel and Rhythms' curated by Ashton Cooper

In her landmark 1966 exhibition Eccentric Abstraction, Lucy Lippard brought together the work of Alice Adams, Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, and others in a show that, in her words, was “devoted to opening up new areas of materials, shape, color, and sensuous experience.”
 
Reportedly first used by John Milton in 1641, the word sensuous was conceived to indicate a total engagement of the senses without the licentious undertones of “sensual.” Nearly 200 years later, sensuous found an advocate in Romantic poet Samuel Coleridge who argued for its utility in an essay penned in 1814: “Thus, to express in one word what belongs to the senses, or the recipient and more passive faculty of the soul, I have reintroduced the word sensuous, used, among many others of our elder writers, by Milton.”
 
What Coleridge would call “the recipient and more passive faculty of the soul,” Lippard would call body ego. She writes, “It is difficult to explain why certain forms and treatments of form should elicit more sensuous response than others. Sometimes it is determined by the artist’s own approach to his materials and forms; at others by the viewer’s indirect sensations of identification, reflecting both his personal and vicarious knowledge of sensorial experience in general. Body ego can be experienced two ways: first through appeal, the desire to caress, to be caught up in the feel and rhythms of a work; second, through repulsion, the immediate reaction against certain forms and surfaces which take longer to comprehend.”
 
The works assembled here incite this “desire to caress, to be caught up in the feel and rhythms of a work.” The acrylic stain in Simone Meltesen’s “Untitled (Tablecloth)” invokes the physical sensation of wet gingham fabric; Kurt Treeby’s “Disposable: Niagara Falls Winter Garden” also employs a pink grid, but in the form of a demolished landmark, which doubles as a tissue box holder that invites the viewer to grab and pull; “Ancestral Swamp,” painted by Nikholis Planck, urges one to plunge a hand or nose right into its sticky humid jumble; August Krogan-Roley’s carpet collage “by the rivers of” summons the feeling of the rough warp and weft of mass-produced carpet; even though constructed with concrete, Nicole Langille’s “pocket with pink and purple” tempts one to reach for a hidden interior; in “Lot's Daughters” Whitney Lynn has reimagined the Biblical tale and made it cruder with the use of thickly applied oil pastel and the implication of incestual cradling; Garth Swanson’s unstretched and hand woven canvas in “Courtyard” takes on the quality of a well worn garment; “Character of Color Phenomena (vessel),” made by Sarah Zapata, beckons the viewer to run a hand along the repeated ridges of its coiled rope; the candy apple reds in Nancy White’s acrylic on paper piece “01_2016” suggest the taste of a sticky treat; and Erin Castellan’s “Peggy Myrtle” entices one to touch its bumpy beaded surface.
 
Ashton Cooper is an independent writer and curator living in New York.

This exhibition is the fifth in a series of online exhibitions; this exhibition was curated from White Columns' Artists Registry.

Participating Artists Include:
Erin Castellan
August Krogan-Roley
Nicole Langille
Whitney Lynn
Simone Meltesen
Nikholis Planck
Garth Swanson
Kurt Treeby
Nancy White
Sarah Zapata

For more information: registry.whitecolumns.org

Simone Meltesen
Untitled (Tablecloth), 2015
Acrylic stain on unprimed canvas
30 x 24 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Kurt Treeby
Disposable: Niagara Falls Winter Garden, 2016
Yarn, plastic canvas, tissue box, LED lighting
19 x 17 x 25 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Nikholis Planck
Ancestral Swamp, 2015
Silicone, collage, wood pencil, and water-soluble oil color on wax on cavas
49 x 47 inches
Courtesy of the artist

August Krogan-Roley
by the rivers of, 2013
Carpet collage
20 x 15 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Nicole Langille
pocket with pink and purple, 2016
Concrete and spray paint
16 x 24 x 1 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Whitney Lynn
Lot's Daughters, 2016
Oil pastel, pencil, and masking tape on paper
60 x 56 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Garth Swanson
Courtyard,  2016
Oil and acrylic on handwoven canvas (hemp warp, cotton weft; fully selvaged)
16 x 14 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Sarah Zapata
Character of Color Phenomena (vessel), 2017
Natural and synthetic fiber, coiled rope
12 x 9 x 27 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Nancy White
01_2016, 2016
Acrylic on paper
8.75 x 7.625 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Erin Castellan
Peggy Myrtle, 2015
Beads, thread, found fabric
15 x 15 inches
Courtesy of the artist