STRATEGIES OF MATERIAL TRANSFORMATION
13th Jan – 25th Feb 2012
Proposing a unifying term for a group of artists active primarily in New York, Soft OP outlines historical precedents for the optical and material experimentation of artists such as Anna Betbeze, Jacob Kassay, Erik Lindman, and Ned Vena. The artists combine optical patterning and sleight of eye with an alchemical alteration of materials, making what should be hard, resilient and impenetrable over into permeable visual membranes.
The categorization Soft OP describes predominantly abstract artworks that perform through manufactured material or optical transformation. Employing a chance driven, trace focused archiving of sensation or occurrence the works exhibit a highly phenomenological nature. Generally executing in series the artists of Soft OP are adroit manipulators of repetition, displacement, illusion, and combination.
In works most signature to Soft OP material transformations occur and surfaces perform extraordinary tricks – flat canvases distort, fold or twist and lines cut through grounds to reveal a second skin. Surfaces appear soft, somehow alive and active, with layers below to be excavated and revealed. Alternatively, this soft surface calcifies, turning chemical and reflective. Where representational-narrative images occur they fade into an endless expansive void. Each painting is an objective world unto itself, not a ground or plane for the projection of an identifiable image. The exhibition comprises a multi-generational view of these techniques and strategies.