Jack Tworkov, Triptych (Q3-75 #1), 1975, oil on canvas, 72h x 216w in (182.88h x 548.64w cm)
Frieze New York | May 5 – 7, 2017 | Main Galleries | Stand D41
Randall’s Island, New York
Alexander Gray Associates presents paintings and drawings by Jack Tworkov, charting the evolution of the artist’s career from gestural abstract expressionism in the 1950s to a conceptual approach to geometric abstraction beginning in the late 1960s and 1970s. Together, the selection of works highlight Tworkov’s adept balance between structure and spontaneity to underscore the potential of experimental form in painting.
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Central to the presentation is Triptych (Q3-75 #1), 1975, a monumental painting—18 feet long—shown for the first time in New York since the artist’s 1982 survey at the Guggenheim Museum, Jack Tworkov: Fifteen Years of Painting. Recalling the artist’s early abstract expressionist work, the underpainting is dense with Tworkov’s signature flame-like brushstrokes that are covered with a precisely rendered geometric grid of rectangles. Each overlapping grid contains repetitive, controlled marks in pink and purple hues that are, as art critic Andrew Forge noted “small enough to provide a completely unified surface, open enough to be transparent, and vigorous enough to set up a faint background vibration.”
Accompanying Triptych (Q3-75 #1) are its three preparatory sketches and an earlier painting from 1973, Pyramid (Q3-71-3), emblematic of Tworkov’s exploration of both structure and improvisation. With an underdrawing compositionally structured to situate the viewer at the apex of a pyramid, Tworkov creates the illusion of depth on the canvas while also emphasizing its inherent flatness through consistent brushstrokes. Unlike the more structured drawings, the painting’s loose, but regulated mark-making reveals the artist’s experimentation with planar illusion and geometric form, representing his belief that “planning does not exclude intuitive and sometimes random play.”
Also on view are a curated selection of works on paper, spanning from the 1950s to the 1980s, which demonstrate the stylistic changes in Tworkov’s oeuvre. Related to “West 23rd”, c. 1963, exemplifies Tworkov’s gestural handling of watercolor, creating a work populated with saturated blue and yellow tones punctuated by dark, regular parallel lines. Graphite markings, visible among the layers of pigment, disrupt the composition, intersecting the painted strokes. In L.B. Pencil Drawing #2, 1979, Tworkov relied instead on geometry, dividing the plane into a grid and incising various shapes onto the two-dimensional surface. The irregular shapes are filled with repetitive and regimented graphite marks while the two large rectangles are left unfilled, displaying the remnants of the imposed grid system.
Jack Tworkov’s work has been the subject of numerous one-person exhibitions, including the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (2016); the Asheville Museum, NC (2015); Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center, Asheville, NC (2011); UBS Art Gallery, New York (2009); Boston College Museum, Chestnut Hill, MA (1994); Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA (1987); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1982); Poses Institute of Fine Arts, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA (1965); and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1964 and 1971). His work has been the subject of recent exhibitions at the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH (2015) and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy (2016). His work has been featured in over two-dozen Whitney Annuals and Biennials, and two Carnegie Internationals (1952 and 1958). Tworkov’s work is represented in prominent private and public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT; Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, MA; and Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN; among others.
About Frieze New York.
Frieze New York is one of the world’s leading contemporary art fairs. Like Frieze London, Frieze New York is housed in a bespoke temporary structure, suffused with natural light. The fair is located in Randall’s Island Park, NY.
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Alexander Gray Associates.
Alexander Gray Associates is a contemporary art gallery in New York. Through exhibitions, research, and artist representation, the Gallery spotlights artistic movements and artists who emerged in the mid- to late-Twentieth Century. Influential in cultural, social, and political spheres, these artists are notable for creating work that crosses geographic borders, generational contexts and artistic disciplines. Alexander Gray Associates is a member of the Art Dealers Association of America.