Artists continue to explore their love for art and architecture in ways that posit the notion of a space between; an exploratory avenue where artists examine what it is they admire of or struggle with in architecture, and present these findings in unique ways. In the Point of Entry exhibition at Pinnacle Gallery, Sept. 30 - Nov. 4, 2009 artists, Scott Ingram, Josef Schulz and Lucy Williams' work responds to the aesthetic, functional and historical presence of Modernist architecture that is very much alive in contemporary art. This idea of the space between is thought of as the expanse of visual language cultivated by Modern architecture's aesthetic sensibility.
Atlanta based Scott Ingram explores Modernist architecture by extracting its inherent structural and design elements. Ingram modifies these extracted segments for site-specific installation, bringing a new view of Modernist architecture into contemporary art. I-beam Installation, 2009 in the exhibition is a configuration of four, six to twelve foot segments of I-beam structures made of wood. Supported at a 45 degree angle from ceiling to floor the largest beam anchors the line from which the remaining three I-beams intersect and subsequently mirror the curve of a brick wall in Josef Schulz' Rot-blau situated behind and to the left of Ingram's sculptural installation.
Ingram's I-beam configuration delves into a discussion of the importance of material and line in Modern architecture further emphasized by the placement of the beams to suggest a point of entry. For instance, Ingram's use of wood for the I-beams in place of its common structural steel material changes our perceptions of structure. Whereas Modernist architecture would require I-beams to be made of steel for structural safety and not meant to be seen, Ingram has made them of wood purposefully suggesting their appeal as a sculptural element and extracting them from the interior of a structure to then reside outside and independent of their intended architectural function. Schulz does something similar in the way in which he removes modern warehouse and factory buildings from their the intended purposes to reveal unique planar compositions imbued with an abstract sensibility.
In a selection of mass-produced industrial structures, often differentiated only by a slight variety in material for the facade, Berlin-based Schulz reveals the significance of line and shape in Modern architecture through the use of photographic imagery. Seemingly banal in their functional existence as storage warehouses and factory facilities, Schulz capitalizes on these structures potential as new industrial fortresses rising up from articulated Utopian landscapes. The force of the horizontal and vertical lines of Schulz' warehouse structures juxtaposes his feathery manipulation of slices of grass in some images or entire landscapes in others. Sometimes, as in Grau-orange from 2008, landscape has been completely removed, leaving a focus on the structures' definite monumentality. Schulz strips away any trace of the structure of a modern building in favor of Modernism's abstracted qualities which are reminiscent of Greenbergian Modernism's reduction of three-dimensional space. Although, Schulz' images suggest three-dimensional space by the angle in which they are photographed, there is a consorted effort to maintain the abstracted quality offered by the intersection of line and plane in these freestanding structures.
London artist Lucy Williams' collage-like "portraits" of both famous and obscure modern buildings and interiors combines her affinity for the structural engineering and aesthetics of 1950s and 60s architecture. Layering each composition from back to front, Williams painstakingly cuts thick white board, inserts some found, some fabricated materials, paints, glues, and assembles intricate architectural vignettes. She is essentially re-engineering a photographic image of a Modern architectural space in bas-relief. Additionally, Williams is working out her desire as both sculptor and painter by utilizing tools and techniques of both disciplines. This process has resulted in a very intricate and mind boggling investigation of Modernist architecture.
One of several works in the exhibition, Shopping Centre from 2006 could be considered an engineering feat in and of itself. Williams had to not only score and cute the white board to create one unified piece to use as the structure of the interior of the lobby of the shopping center but she also had to maintain consideration of the elements that run behind and in front of this initial ground in order to create a concise depiction. She proceeds to use paint, fibers, papers, plexi, and other materials she deems sufficient to reconstruct the interior space accurately.
Ingram, Schulz, and Williams draw on certain aspects of Modern architecture to explore its form, functionality and aesthetics within the context of contemporary art as another point of entry. Together, these three artists' explorations of Modern architecture continues the ever increasing dialogue between art and architecture.