BIG&SMALL/CASUAL GALLERY 10-20, 45TH Rd, Long Island City, NY 11101
http://www.bigandsmallcasual.net/ tel: (917) 847 8613
Gallery Director: Kate Teale
COLOR/CONSTRUCT Gene Benson; Mary Judge and Lawrence Swan
OPENING: Friday, October 19, 6 – 8pm.
DATES: For two weekends only, Sat-Sun 20-1 & 27-8 and by appointment
Big&Small/Casual Gallery is proud to present the work of Gene Benson, Mary
Judge and Lawrence Swan. The show will comprise works on paper, paintings
and sculptures that share an idiosyncratic use of geometry, with color playing a
powerful role. There is a strong feeling of ‘objectness’ in all of the work:
Lawrence will show two and three-dimensional drawings and sculptures, usually
made from humble materials like tin cans and folded paper: Mary’s paper pieces
are tactile and physical - heavy paper with folds or in sections and powdered
pigment worked into the surface. The folds reference the format of the book, a
box, or chest. Gene’s paintings are often small and sturdy with thick, painted
sides, sometimes reminiscent of icons or painted boxes.
Gene Benson is something of a recluse in art-world terms. This will be the first
time he has exhibited a significant body of work, though he is prolific. Gene lives
upstate in Boiceville where he began working for Al Held in 1992. He makes
paintings and works on paper inspired by the surrounding landscape. There is a
visionary strangeness to the multiple simple shapes he finds to express the
natural world around him. He is a great colorist, and makes light shine and
radiate from his paintings. Driving home from his up-state studio, I watched as
the surrounding countryside arranged itself into Gene Benson-like shapes and
shafts of light. As good artists do, he changed the way the world looks.
Mary Judge is showing new work from her Color Structure Series. She
continues her process of working powdered pigment into paper, but extends it
with blocks of strong color to explore built forms in two dimensions. Combining a
sensual touch and rich color with geometry, she creates surprising spatial effects,
like a ‘permeable paper wall’. Her inspiration comes from various sources, such
as the Chain of Rocks Bridge (old route 66 over the Mississippi, St Louis),
ancient subterranean cult sites in Turkey and minimal sculpture and painting of
Lawrence Swan tends to work on a small scale and with a kind of low-tech
modesty. There is a casual intensity to many of the pieces. He uses tin cans,
found wood, cut up canvas board, torn and folded paper, ink, and gouache to
make simple masks, word games, optical illusions and geometric figures. He
likes to work with primary colors arranged in complex rhythms, and with
elementary forms of representation.
In this show there will be some attempt to re-create the treasure-hunt-like
experience of going through piles of things in his studio.
Born, Springfield, Mass 1960. Graduated Paier College of Art, 1985. Met and
began working for Al Held in 1992, until his death in 2005. Influences include Van
Gogh, Marsden Hartley, Albert Pinkham Ryder, Al Held and the Bruegels.
Mary Judge was raised in rural NJ and attended Saturday classes at Moore
College of Art in Philadelphia to which she received a scholarship. She attended
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and Tyler School of Art in Rome,
where she returned for her MFA. The art and culture of Italy have deeply
influenced her work. Judge’s first New York exhibition was at The Drawing
Center in 1997. She recently moved to Bushwick, Brooklyn where she will open
an exhibition space, Schema Projects, which will be dedicated to works on paper.
Lawrence Swan is a Brooklyn-based painter who emerged in the
Bushwick/Ridgewood scene of the past few years. He is also a writer who makes
graphic texts on-line and in self-published chapbooks and pamphlets. He has a
BFA in painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art, where he primarily studied
with Julian Stanczak and Edwin Mieczkowski, and an MA in philosophy from
Cleveland State University. From 2009 through 2010 his studio blog
(newcleanblog.blogspot.com) was the site of Art Bum Comics, and miscellaneous
texts, drawings, sculpture, and works in progress appear there more or less