image: “Bird in Arras VII” byTIM SCOTT is part of the new exhibit at the Everson Museum of Art called “The Sixties: When Colour was Sculpture" in Robineau Gallery: JEN PEPPER: that which cannot be held
“New Everson exhibits grows out of Impressionists,” published in The Post-Standard newspaper, Sunday, February 07, 2010 Syracuse, NY by contributing columnist Steven Kern, Director, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
Impressionism, a subject that dominated this column from September through December last year, offers the perfect transition into two exhibitions that have just opened at the Everson Museum of Art.
“The Sixties: When Colour was Sculpture” features six monumental acrylic and steel sculptures by British artist Tim Scott.
Cazenovia artist Jen Pepper has mounted a site-specific installation called “that which cannot be held,” the first exhibition of “The Edge of Art: New York State Artists Series.” Like the Impressionists, who sought to expand the definition of painting in the 1870s, Scott and Pepper boldly redefine painting and drawing respectively with their work.
The effects of light and shadow, line and color were a preoccupation with artists like Monet and Cezanne. In the generations that followed the two French masters, artists made full use of the aesthetic and intellectual advances made by the Impressionists as they continued to test the boundaries of materials, technique and inspiration. In the 1960s, for the Color Field painters in the Everson collection such as Helen Frankenthaler and Jules Olitski, color itself became a subject.
Olitski, for example, wanted his paintings to make the viewer feel that he or she was walking into color. Carefully balanced masses and tonalities are expressed in three dimensions in Scott’s work, with color extending, quite literally, into space. A walk around the monumental sculptures reveals subtleties and surprises, as color and space lock together only to break apart, as movement is caught in suspended animation, and as steel and acrylic seem to defy gravity.
If Tim Scott’s sculpture from late 1960s can be interpreted as painting in three dimensions, so can Jen Pepper’s installation be viewed as a drawing in space. Inspired by the landscape, Pepper’s installation sets out to celebrate constant transformation and, like Monet’s landscapes, to capture the fleeting moment.
With a video backdrop of a thaw at Chittenango Falls, elaborate mesh sculpture, itself a dazzling work of almost two miles of finger-crocheted galvanized cable, projects a shadow drawing of no lesser significance. Just as Tim Scott’s color palette is exhilarating, Jen Pepper’s monochromatic image is sensational.
“Tim Scott — The Sixties: When Color was Sculpture,” organized by David Mirvish, Toronto, will remain on view through April 11. Jen Pepper’s “that which cannot be held” remains on view through April 4.
Steven Kern is director of the Everson Museum of Art.