Armory Center for the Arts presents Expanding on an expansive subject, an exhibition about contemporary painting that unfolds in nine parts over the course of a year. Expanding on an expansive subject launches with an exhibition by Margie Livingston, entitled Paint as canvas, in the Armory’s Pasadena Art Alliance Gallery. A reception, free and open to the public, will take place on Saturday, June 12 from 7-9pm. The show runs from Sunday, July 13 through Sunday, August 31, 2014. Expanding on an expansive subject has been organized by the Armory’s Gallery Manager & Assistant Curator Sinéad Finnerty-Pyne.
In order to explore new meaning in a centuries-old artistic pursuit, Expanding on an expansive subject features nine artists’ investigations of painting’s range and potential as a cross-disciplinary medium and its relationships to the disciplines of sculpture and performance. The show asserts a unique model as a group exhibition displayed as individual solo projects in the Armory’s intimate Pasadena Art Alliance Gallery, located on the building’s second floor. Expanding on an expansive subject will open with work by Margie Livingston, followed by Analia Saban, John Burtle, and others to be announced. Each of the nine parts of Expanding on an expansive subject will run for approximately six weeks.
After a series of deaths and rebirths, painting has emerged in recent decades in an expanded form: as a medium, material, process, object, concept, and discourse. This exhibition examines nine artists’ responses to the materiality and fluidity of the ever-evolving practice of painting through an engagement with multiple disciplines. The artists in Expanding on an expansive subject embrace contemporary painting’s lenient disciplinary boundaries as they embrace a newfound freedom with the medium.
Margie Livingston, the first in the series of artists, is a painter that engages in a conversation with painting and sculpture. In 2009, she abandoned the canvas to create self-contained objects with pure paint. Her process involves the use of large quantities of acrylic paint poured onto her studio floor; the paint eventually becomes building blocks to construct layered abstract sculptures called paint-objects. Through a gesture of expression and spontaneity in the spirit of action-painting and the poured paintings of Lynda Benglis, Livingston drizzles paints to create lines and patterns that are then cut, folded, smeared, and assembled into multiple two and three-dimensional forms.
For Expanding on an expansive subject Livingston will exhibit an intimate selection of recent paint-objects, which both isolate and combine various elements of her laborious process. Her draped paintings, for instance, are created from a single layer of poured paint, which is swathed like a coat over a hook. These sculptures suggest various ideas, from the corporal semblance of paint as skin that sags with the force of gravity over time, to the drapery that has covered flesh throughout the history of art. The fabric-like appearance also brings the conversation back to the canvas on which paintings are traditionally made. Livingston asserts that by abandoning the canvas she is able to push the idea of painting as a “flexible” medium that can be expanded upon while still engaging with the traditions that have come before.