Oct 10 – Nov 7, 2020
ADAPT (Iteration 3)
Don Voisine · Kate Petley · Betty Merken · Stephen Westfall · Linda Fleming
Robischon Gallery presents its final installment of an evolving exhibition series in abstraction, entitled “ADAPT (Iteration 3).” The group exhibition series, which began at the beginning of summer 2020, highlights a variety of approaches in abstraction through formal and material investigations, as well as the conceptual. The exhibition culminates in a presentation of geometric-based painting, print, drawing and sculptural artworks, both new and in review, by artists Don Voisine (NY), Kate Petley (CO), Betty Merken (WA), Stephen Westfall (NY) and Linda Fleming (CO/CA). With a strong sense of architectural space and an uncommon use of light and wide-ranging color, the five abstract artists on view allow for a unique look into the intuitive and adaptive act of art making as a way to see anew.
“I am concerned with the language of space – how it delineates boundaries, exposes points of access, exit or entry and enables the user to interact with the structure of a defined space. This simple vernacular of architecture informs my paintings.”
– Don Voisine
New York artist Don Voisine hails from Maine and attended the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine and the Rochester Institute of Technology. He was the recipient of the 2011 Purchase Prize, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME, Hassam, Speicher, Betts and Symons Purchase Fund Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY, 2008 Henry Ward Ranger Fund Purchase Award, National Academy Museum, New York and a 2006 Artist’s Fellowship, New York Foundation for the Arts, among others. His work is in numerous permanent collections including: Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, University of Richmond Museum, Richmond, VA, Missoula Art Museum, Missoula, MT, Katzen Arts Center, American University, Washington, DC, Art in Embassies Program, United States Department of State, Washington, DC, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California, Berkeley, CA, Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME, National Academy Museum, New York, NY, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Print Department, New York, NY, National Academy Museum, New York, NY, Phillips Collection, Washington , D. C., Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, The Frances Mulhall Achilles Library, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT, Zimmerli Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ and the Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME. Currently his work is in a group exhibition entitled “Multilayer/Vision” at Raum Schroth, Museum Wilhelm Morgner, Soest, Germany through January 10, 2021.
“Transformation lies at the heart of my process, both for the materials and my intent for the finished work. I’m a process-driven materialist with a history that crosses disciplines, deliberately emphasizing positivity as an authentic position to contrast these unsettling times.”
– Kate Petley
Colorado artist Kate Petley has a B.F.A. cum laude from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her multimedia work resides at the intersection of photography, painting, and sculpture. Petley has been the recipient of numerous awards and residencies including: a Ucross Foundation Fellowship, Sheridan WY; the Peripheral Vision Publication Fellowship, Dallas, TX; PhotoIreland Residency in Dublin, Ireland; Invitational Artist Residency, Franz Mayer of Munich Glass, Munich, Germany; Artist Residency and Teaching Intensive, PlatteForum, Denver CO; and the New Forms Regional Grant Initiative (NFRIG), National Endowment for the Arts and The Rockefeller Foundation, among others. In 2016, Petley was included in Metropolitan State University’s Center for Visual Art influential exhibition entitled “Colorado Women in Abstraction” which coincided with Denver Art Museum’s groundbreaking “Women of Abstract Expressionism” exhibition. Her work has been widely exhibited and is represented in the collections of: The Nicolaysen Museum, Casper WY; The Federal Reserve Bank, Kansas City MO; Polsinelli LLC in Dallas TX, Chicago IL, and Denver CO; Houston Airport System, Houston, TX; Suntrust Bank, Atlanta GA; Intercontinental Exchange, Atlanta GA; Osage Art Consultancy, Hong Kong; Fidelity Investments, Denver CO and Boston, MA; UCLA Hospital Santa Monica CA; Denver Children’s Hospital, Denver CO; The City of Houston, TX; The Town of Vail, CO; The Ritz Carlton, Hyatt, Marriott, and Caesar’s Palace Hotel Corporations; Park South Hotel, New York NY; Propriety Capital, Denver CO; Morgan Stanley, San Francisco CA, among others. In 2021, Petley’s work will be featured in a 2021 solo exhibition entitled “Staring into the Fire” at the University of Colorado Art Museum and she has also curated a nine-artist exhibition for the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art with an opening date to be announced.
“I’m always asking myself, “How many ways can this unfold?” “How else can I work this?” I do not use a computer as drawing tool, although I know that it would be much quicker. I’m a classicist at heart and for me the classic use of a pencil, with a soft eraser nearby, leaves previous lines and forms as pentimento traces, which I find compelling. And sometimes an unexpected drip occurs and by itself it anchors the painting. Painting takes time. And love takes time. Time has been realigned by the unexpected pandemic within our midst and by its effects on our lives and on our creativity. More than ever I want to make something I haven't seen before.”
– Betty Merken
Betty Merken received her B.A in Arts Education from the University of Washington and has participated in programs with organizations such as Penland School of Crafts, Penland, North Carolina, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine, and the University of California, Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited in over one hundred solo and group exhibitions in galleries throughout the United States, Japan, China, and Italy, and can be found in the permanent collections of major museums including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (the de Young Museum and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor), the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, CA, the Portland Art Museum in Portland, OR, the Long Beach Museum of Art, CA, and the Civita Institute, Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy. Merken has been honored with fellowships from the Pinea-Linea de Costa Foundation, in Rota, Spain, the BAU Institute in Otranto, Italy and New York and the Civita/Northwest Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in Italy. Her work can be found in numerous private and public collections in the United States, Asia, and Europe, including the United States Embassy Phnom Penh, Cambodia, General Electric, Brussels, Belgium, Neiman Marcus Corporation and Nordstrom. She is the co-author with Stefan Merken of “Wall Art, Megamurals” and Supergraphics (Philadelphia: Running Press, 1987).
“I use geometric structures to distribute my colors in an imitation of randomness. I say ‘imitation’ because truly random distribution would present a lot more clumping of value and chromatic temperature than I want. I’m searching for a sense of aeration and glow, like sunlight on a laundry line or a sun baked billboard on the eastern Arizona stretch of I-40. I’m also hoping that the color distribution will contest in some way the symmetry of my pictorial architectures. Along with dyslexia I have synesthesia and mixed dominance. I can taste and gather scents from certain colors, and numbers and consonants have colors (which proceed to have and scent and so on …). I also do some things left-handed and other things right-handed. I desire symmetry but can’t live with it. So the shifting spread of my colors “undoes” my symmetries with an insider’s patience. Every pocket of space is a different story, a different scape, even. I do not use tape on my canvases so they have an increased “handmade” feel to them in comparison with most Hard Edged painting. I think there’s a subtle animation as the paint meets the paint along the borders of every shape, a little vibration that also slows down the pattern reading. All the better for viewers to find the spaces of their own imagination.”
– Stephen Westfall
Noted New York artist and art writer, Stephen Westfall has both a B.A. and M.F.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Widely exhibited both in the US and abroad, Westfall has received numerous honors and awards such as the Rome Prize Fellowship, Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, Nancy Graves Foundation Grant, Class of 1932 Fellow of the Council of Humanities, Princeton University, Academy Award in Painting, American Academy of Arts & Letters, three National Endowment for the Arts awards and two from the New York State Council on the Arts. His work is included in museum and corporate collections including: Albertina Museum, Vienna, Austria; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; Bon Marche, Paris, France; Kemper Museum, Kansas City, MO; The Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; Mason Gross Performing Arts Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; Microsoft, Seattle, WA; Munson Williams Proctor Institute, Utica, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of Modern Art, NY; The New York Public Library, NY; Rubin Museum, New York, NY; UBS Art Collection; University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, among others. Additionally, Westfall is on faculty at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts and Bard College. In the summer of 2018, Westfall's Perasma I, Perasma II and Dappleganger were installed in the 30th Avenue subway station in Queens, Astoria. According to MTA New York Transit, “The laminated glass panels in the station mezzanine's waiting area are frieze-like panels of abstract, geometric patterns that rhythmically invoke universality alongside cultural identity. The scale, mirrored glass, and merging movement invoke processional themes in classical friezes as well as the movement of public transportation in contemporary life, in particular the shuttering of light through the mezzanine windows and the bustle of bodies in our mass transit system."
“My works hint at the co-existence of the mundane and the cosmological where two realities simultaneously exist – including the possibility that the past is also present. The structures are diagrams of thought that provide a glimpse of the strangeness beyond the everyday world; opening a place where thought becomes tangible, history leaves a trace, and information exhales form. Physical sensation and perception are interdependent and I sometimes wonder if what I am seeing is an indication of something outside of what I know or a sudden awareness of the blood vessels coursing through my eyes. Material can never fully communicate thought, which makes these elaborate constructions more poignant in their attempt than they would ever be in their articulateness.”
– Linda Fleming
Linda Fleming attended the San Francisco Art Institute and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She was a professor at California College of the Arts from 1986 – 2017 and held the position of Sculpture Department Chair from 1988 - 2000. She has received numerous prestigious recognitions including those from the International Sculpture Center, Peter S. Reed, Adolph & Ester Gottlieb and Pollack-Krasner foundations. Her work is in the permanent collections of Santa Clara University, the Berkeley Art Museum, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Oakland Museum of California, University of Wyoming, Stanford University Museum, and Albuquerque Museum along with additional collections both public and private. Recent noteworthy exhibitions include: Fleming’s “Confluence,” exhibited at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and “Making Places,” exhibited at the Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, as well as her touring exhibition showcasing the artist’s extensive and intricate maquette series entitled, “Linda Fleming: Modeling the Universe” originating at the Nevada Art Museum and “Drawn To/Drawn From: A 45 Year Survey” at Oats Park Art Center, Fallon, Nevada; “Glimmer,” a site-specific sculpture for the Oakland Museum of Art, exhibited in the OMCA’s iconic sculpture gardens; and Robischon Gallery’s 2016 exhibition “DECLARATION,” in which Fleming’s work was exhibited alongside other historically-important and esteemed artists: Louise Bourgeois, Ruth Bernhard, Helen Frankenthaler, Ann Hamilton, Jae Ko, Yayoi Kusama, Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Shirin Neshat, Judy Pfaff, Lorna Simpson, Mickalene Thomas and Kara Walker.