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Count of Three

April 18 – May 24, 2019

​Count of Three

​Count of Three
Installation view
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

Count of Three

Count of Three
Installation View
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

Count of Three

Count of Three
Installation View
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

Count of Three

Count of Three
Installation View
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

Count of Three

Count of Three
Installation view
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

​Count of Three

​Count of Three
Installation view
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

Count of Three

Count of Three
Installation View
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

​Count of Three

​Count of Three
Installation view
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

​Count of Three

​Count of Three
Installation view
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

​Count of Three

​Count of Three
Installation view
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

Count of Three

Count of Three
Installation View
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

​Count of Three

​Count of Three
Installation view
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

​Count of Three

​Count of Three
Installation view
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

​Count of Three

​Count of Three
Installation view
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

​Count of Three

​Count of Three
Installation view
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

​Count of Three

​Count of Three
Installation view
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

​Count of Three

​Count of Three
Installation view
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

​Count of Three

​Count of Three
Installation view
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

​Count of Three

​Count of Three
Installation view
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

​Count of Three

​Count of Three
Installation view
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

Count of Three

Count of Three
Installation View
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

Count of Three

Count of Three
Installation View
Alexander Gray Associates (2019)

Polly Apfelbaum Wavy Gravy Tier 3, 2010

Polly Apfelbaum
Wavy Gravy Tier 3, 2010
Marker on velvet
45.50h x 42.50w in (115.57h x 107.95w cm)

Sam Gilliam, Least Rivers, 1966

Sam Gilliam

Least Rivers, 1966

Acrylic on canvas

42.13h x 43.88w in (107h x 111.44w cm)

 

Torkwase Dyson, Damn-Dam, Levy-Levees (Water Table), 2019

Torkwase Dyson

Damn-Dam, Levy-Levees (Water Table), 2019

Acrylic, pastel and ink on canvas

Diptych, overall: 60h x 100w in (152.4h x 254w cm)

 

Sam Gilliam, Diamas #9, 1964

Sam Gilliam

Diamas #9, 1964

Acrylic on canvas

80.25h x 80.50w in (203.84h x 204.47w cm)

 

Polly Apfelbaum, Still Life: Green on Green, 1997

Polly Apfelbaum

Still Life: Green on Green, 1997

Synthetic velvet and fabric dye

60.25h x 50.25w in (153.04h x 127.64w cm)

Jack Tworkov, Horizons II (Q3-71 #6), 1971

Jack Tworkov

Horizons II (Q3-71 #6), 1971

Oil on canvas

70h x 80w in (177.80h x 203.20w cm)

Betty Parsons, Autumn, 1965

Betty Parsons

Autumn, 1965

Oil on canvas

30.13h x 31w in (76.52h x 78.74w cm)

 

Ulrike Müller, Wraps, 2018

Ulrike Müller

Wraps, 2018

Vitreous enamel on steel

15.50h x 12w in (39.37h x 30.48w cm)

Carrie Moyer, Conflagration with Bangs, 2015

Carrie Moyer

Conflagration with Bangs, 2015

Acrylic and glitter on canvas

72h x 84w in (182.88h x 213.36w cm)

Sam Gilliam, Raw Meat, 1965

Sam Gilliam

Raw Meat, 1965

Acrylic on canvas

55.50h x 53.25w in (140.97h x 135.26w cm)

Odili Donald Odita, Echo, 2019

Odili Donald Odita

Echo, 2019

Acrylic latex paint on aluminum-core fabricated wood panel with reconstituted wood veneer

92h x 52w x 1.75d in (233.68h x 132.08w x 4.45d cm)

 

Betty Parsons, Green #1, 1971

Betty Parsons

Green #1, 1971

Acrylic on canvas

68h x 69.50w in (172.72h x 176.53w cm)

Ulrike Müller, Curls, 2017

Ulrike Müller

Curls, 2017

Vitreous enamel on steel

15.50h x 12w in (39.37h x 30.48w cm)

Betty Parsons, Count of Three, 1967

Betty Parsons

Count of Three, 1967

Acrylic on canvas

69h x 40w in (175.26h x 101.60w cm)

 

Torkwase Dyson, In the Middle of the Ocean 9 (Water Table), 2018–2019

Torkwase Dyson

In the Middle of the Ocean 9 (Water Table), 2018–2019

Acrylic, pastel and ink on canvas

60h x 60w in (152.40h x 152.40w cm)

Polly Apfelbaum, Still Life: Pink on Pink, 1997

Polly Apfelbaum

Still Life: Pink on Pink, 1997

Synthetic velvet and fabric dye

60.75h x 42.25w in (154.31h x 107.32w cm)

Jack Tworkov, Three Five Eight #1 (Q3-75 #6), 1975

Jack Tworkov

Three Five Eight #1 (Q3-75 #6), 1975

Acrylic on canvas

80h x 80w in (203.20h x 203.20w cm)

Press Release

Opening reception: Thursday, April 18, 2019, 6–8 PM

Alexander Gray Associates presents Count of Three, a survey of abstract painting from the 1960s to the present that takes structure—both formal and metaphysical—as a position to work within and against, opening onto myriad generative possibilities. Bringing together artists situated in an array of art historical, social, and cultural contexts, the exhibition features works by Polly Apfelbaum, Torkwase Dyson, Sam Gilliam, Carrie Moyer, Ulrike Müller, Odili Donald Odita, Betty Parsons, and Jack Tworkov.

Taking its title from Betty Parsons’ 1967 painting, Count of Three centers on the medium of painting, broadly defined. The exhibiting artists work in a range of formal approaches to abstraction, including geometric, biomorphic, and gestural, and frequently employ an intrepid use of color. The structures they work from may be adopted, invented, or inherited, and disrupting them might bend to challenges art historical, ideological, or political in nature. The artworks on view play between rules and spontaneity, order and expression, and the potential that emerges therefrom.

Throughout the 1960s, Parsons’ painting employed geometric and biomorphic elements with bold combinations of color, in works such as Autumn (1965), in an approach that privileged intuitive combinations over stylistic allegiance. Later that decade and into the 1970s, geometric formulas and mathematical precision brought a cerebral quality to Jack Tworkov’s late works, as in Jag (SP-69-#4) (1968), which anchored a loose system of mark-making within diagrammatic structure. In the context of color field painting, at first glance, Sam Gilliam’s geometric paintings of the mid-1960s read as hard-edge abstraction, in step with his peers in the Washington Color School. However, his unprimed canvases exposed a fluidity of line and color, particularly through the bleeding of pigment between lines and solid grounds of color, as seen in Raw Meat (1965).

In recent decades these innovations at mid-century have themselves become the subject of structural interrogation. Polly Apfelbaum’s work celebrates the history of painting at the same time that it playfully probes it, particularly through planar relationships to the walls and floors of exhibition spaces. Still Life: Pink on Pink (1997), sited on the floor, deploys richly-dyed velvet as a lively counter to color field painting, eschewing brushstroke for saturation.

Carrie Moyer’s paintings also bear close stylistic relation to mid-century painting, and in works like Conflagration with Bangs (2015), a complex compositional structure becomes the point of departure for her versatile application of paint. Moyer celebrates the material qualities of acrylic with drips, washes, and layers in a palette of vivid primary colors.

Bringing an expanded lens to matters of structure, additional recent works in the exhibition challenge formal precedents while also examining political and cultural systems. Ulrike Müller replaces traditional paint and canvas with vitreous enamel and metal in intimately-scaled works like Curls (2017). With an unexpected material transformation, she questions silos of categorization: painting or sculpture, crafted or decorated, physical or emotional. Torkwase Dyson’s gray-scale paintings such as Damn-Dam, Levy-Levees (Water Table) (2019), combine geometric precision with a gestural handling of paint. Drawing on her research-driven practice, which focuses on the impact of industrial labor and architecture on the black body, Dyson unwraps and flattens built environments, erects and dissolves horizon lines, and stretches and distorts perspective, in effect pulling beauty out of dystopia. In his polychromatic painting, Echo (2019), Odili Donald Odita examines questions of race and social relations, through a formal language of rhythmically convulsive and irregular geometry that conjures the visual languages of graphic design, national flags, commercial signage, and repeating textiles.

Together, the works in Count of Three manifest the innovative potential in challenging structures from the inside out. Taking up the histories of styles, forms, materials, and/or subject matter, they approach art historical inheritances as fertile ground for experimentation and as means toward forging new ground.