Exploring Visual Arts across Madison
Feb 12, 2014
Beyond Black and White at Overture Galleries
Don’t you tire sometimes of knowing what you know, of believing what you believe? It can be such a pleasure to shift perception or consider an entirely new reality.
That was my reaction to Producing Space, an exhibition of works by Kendall McMinimy and Paul J. Lorenz on display on the third floor of Overture Galleries. It was an experience that took place on a variety of levels.
First was the purely visual. As my eyes scanned the black and white circular images along the left wall and the black squares on the right, my mind catalogued them quickly, filing them away as straightforward colors and shapes.
But a closer look offered immense payback: McMinimy’s five works are detailed and compelling, tapping into imagery that’s at once familiar and foreign, warmly comforting and coldly scientific. And Lorenz’s five black pieces reveal a startling amount of visual detail, lines that create a rich sense of texture and hint at a history of cartography.
The artists offer the show, which runs through March 2, to “engage with the perception and creation of space and place from seemingly opposite directions.”
McMinimy’s half of the show, Cropping to Circles, according to the artist, “is an exploration of unexpected character captured in a commonplace system of agriculture—the center pivot irrigation system, a linear apparatus that moves in a large slow circle irrigating fields/crops in regions of uncertain precipitation or to boost production yield utilizing supplemental ground water.”
Yet revealed in black and white, and from above, the fields and systems become abstracted, a stark interplay of lines, circles and sharp corners. The imagery is graphic and mathematical, resembling diagrams or perhaps even renderings of a crop circle, yet its agricultural context isn’t completely lost. These mixed-media works are still rooted in the local landscape.
Lorenz’s Non-place also references a “where” through abstraction, in a series that investigates “the cartography of non-place.” States the artist, “Any real-place is weighed against non-place. Any real-place loses; being profoundly and necessarily overly defined, brittle. Non-place resists ossification by resisting the possibility of completion. Any articulation of non-place keeps within itself an infinite capacity to expand in details, scope, and scale.”
Working with aluminum and paint, he creates works whose surfaces seem to undulate, like sands drifting and piling in the desert or waters rippling across the ocean. The works are sweeping, beautiful and poetic, yet a closer examination shows distinct lines so carefully placed they bring to mind computer-generated maps. They’re precise models of imaginary places. “In a non-place, no detail exists before its articulation,” Lorenz states. “Every line is an original string of fiction. What emerges in its mapping is all that will ever exist of a non-place.”
Do yourself a favor and pay a visit—perhaps even get lost—in these places where abstraction meets precision, where the macro overlaps the micro, and where what you think you know takes on new meaning.
Producing Space runs through March 2 at Overture Galleries. For more information, visit overturecenter.com/community/overture-galleries.
Photos of “Pivotal 6” by McMinimy and “non-place #2” by Lorenz.