April 3, 2011

Richard Fleischner at Knoedler, NYC: Material /Process / Place: Works 1963-2011

Richard Fleischner
Material /Process / Place: Works 1963-2011 
Knoedler & Company, New York 
Throught April 30, 2011

Untitled, 2004 
Gouache on paper, 17 x 16 3/4 inches
Courtesy KNOEDLER & COMPANY, New York
If a concept or idea is to be realized—not left in a conceptual form—the process that gives it its physical being becomes inseparable from its reading and therefore its meaning. My work grows out of the details that I recognize and acknowledge within the commonplace and universal. It is a practice that involves the juxtaposition and critical distancing between material interactions and placements. The understanding gained through working with different methods and materials—the crafting of glass, bronze, wood, wax and stone—is a part of a shared culture of labor that is irreplaceable to me. These interrelationships of intention, context and process and how they inform one another become the factors that are essential and irreducible in the elegantly refined forms that I most love. — Richard Fleischner, 2011
Knoedler & Company’s inaugural exhibition of the work of Richard Fleischner —RICHARD FLEISCHNER, MATERIAL / PROCESS / PLACE: WORKS 1963-2011, March 19 - April 30, 2011— is a survey spanning more than forty-five years, including works on paper, sculptures, and photographs, and focusing on a spectrum of unifying thematic currents and concerns that may be found in the artist’s work in all media, from his intimately scaled works to site-specific interventions and installations.

A critic once stated that Richard Fleischner “has seeded the country from coast coast with large-scale site-specific projects,” (Grace Glueck 2000) works that may be said to blur the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, and landscape. He figured, along with Alice Aycock, Michael Heizer, Richard Long, Mary Miss, Charles Simonds, Robert Smithson, and others, in two seminal exhibitions on site-specific art: Probing the Earth: Contemporary Land Projects (Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, 1977-1978) and Sitings (La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art and traveling, 1986). 

Among Richard Fleischner’s permanent installations are: courtyard projects at MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1980-1985 and 2008-2010) and the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas (1981-1983), Tufa Maze (1973), installed at Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate, Pocantico Hills, New York; Sod Maze, originally created for the 1974 Monumenta exhibition, and permanently installed at Chateau-sur-Mer in Newport, Rhode Island; the Brown University War Memorial, Providence, Rhode Island (1996-1997); and the Marsh & McLennan Companies September 11, 2001 Memorial, New York (2002-2003). Most recently, he was commissioned to create a courtyard for the Baisillie School of International Affairs & The Centre for International Governance Innovation, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Richard Fleischner’s geometries do not exist as disembodied abstractions, but rather organize and bring to light the special eccentricities of a space, drawing forth and quietly illuminating its potentiality. His lines, planes, points, edges, angles, and axes derive not from his head, but from an extension of his personal and very physical interaction with the space. All his projects have involved plotting by plodding and acting out the measurements and arrangements. From the earliest interventions in the open fields, he has paced, reacted, sensed, visualized, and actually experienced rather than set down any a priori notion on paper. (Katy Kline 1983)

Richard Fleischner’s small-scale sculptures, some of which are closely related to his site-specific works, have been created in diverse media, including terra cotta, wax and wood, steel, and cast bronze and lead. Works from the artist’s series of Lead Drawings (1973-1975) are on loan for this exhibition from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.In his drawings and gouaches, Fleischner achieves a subtle fusion of figure and ground, articulating in two dimensions fundamental forms and geometries that have engaged him since the 1960s, including the relationships and balances of the human presence and perception within a field—what the artist has referred to as “critical distances.” One critic referred to his “Arcadian dreams of balance between self and world.” (Ken Johnson 1999) Applying layers of color to handmade paper with a palette knife, Fleischner sands, rubs, scrapes, washes, repaints and rewashes his gouaches to develop subtle tones and worn patinas rich in texture and incident, with the look of weathered masonry. On the surfaces, he often scratches rough, irregular grids, with incised white lines. In some of the graphite drawings, he includes solid figures in the form of rectangles or crosses that recall the geometrics of certain Russian Constructivists, like Malevich.

Richard Fleischner's photographs: the artist is perhaps least known for his work in photography, which he considers an entirely integral aspect of his oeuvre. Included in Material/Process/Place will be a series of photographs, the earliest of which, Checkers, is dated 1963. In 2007, the artist made a trip to Africa, and in 2008 traveled to India, and works from his Mali and Mumbai series are exhibited here for the first time.

On view in Knoedler Project Space: RAUSCHENBERG x 4, Throught April 30, 2011

Next Exhibitions at Knoedler: 
Conrad Marca-Relli: City to Town, May 5 - July 29, 2011. Catalogue with essay by Carter Ratcliff
Project Space: Keith Mayerson: Abstracts, May 7 - June 17, 2011

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