Vertical Repose was a collection of abstract paintings and sculpture that tended towards length rather than width. The work was compelling and moody, appropriate for lobbies or similar spaces, which is not a criticism. I wonder if vertical also worked as a tip off for interior decorators as art that potentially inhabit a specific shape of area or dimension.
The showroom was a large, sparse space and there was a palatable vibe of a total absence of clutter. The walls were far apart, some sculpture –metal and abstract were also featured – and a pillar or two, but they did little to disperse the emptiness. This enhanced the Vertical Repose experience. Abstract art does not dictate interpretation and defies intellectualization. How you feel is more up to you, because all the references are internal, as opposed to more realistic depictions that rely on less subtle recognition to convey the thoughts and feelings expressed. The atmosphere in this gallery space (371 Warren Street/4th Floor) encouraged one to fill in the blanks, examine their own experience of the art displayed. It was clean and airy. Perhaps because of this physical ambiance so conducive to seeing art, as well as the shared expressionistic mode in the selected work, I felt more affected by the culmination of the collection than by any individual piece exhibited.
The show was curated by Emily Santangelo, whose website is here
Vertical Repose was presented by Panepinto Galleries. Here is their website.
According to the Panepinto Galleries website:
Vertical painting is a process of high drama, finishing in a crescendo, simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating us in its formal orientation. Its theater of aspiration, the sense of reaching vs. acceptance and surrender, the act of jumping and diving or traveling up and down in our eye movement, the unknown above us as well as the somewhat better known at or below our feet, all play a critical role in the process, the creation and the experience of the vertical work. Unlike horizontal imagery, which inescapably speaks of landscape and the reclining figure—in which the observer holds a passive role—the vertical image demands active participation. It pushes back at the viewer,“mirroring” the body, creating an internal space for that audience to engage in a reciprocal dialogue, one that mirrors the surface while allowing the projection of one's individual history onto the image.
The work exhibited in Vertical Repose aims to elicit such articulations of verticality. Pulling from a variety of mediums and artistic approaches, the exhibition does not seek to fuse together an underlying conceptual premise geared towards a contextual narrative but rather, to use the orientation of the frame as a staging area for a particular and predetermined type of aesthetic contemplation. It is through this vertical dimension that we experience the work of art and in turn, ourselves.
Featured artists include John Baldessari, Andrea Belag, Kate Carey, John D'Agostino, Rachel Friedberg, Stephen Gross, Charlie Hewitt, Alison Hildreth, Elizabeth T. Jones, Chris Pelletiere, Kara L. Rooney, Anthony Roselli and Richard Serra.
Vertical is an angle so I thought about Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose.
“What do you mean, ‘Angle of Repose?’ she asked me when I dreamed we were talking about Grandmother’s life, and I said it was the angle at which a man or woman finally lies down.”
Seems Vertical Repose imagines a new angle of repose.