Lita Albuquerque, Embodiment
January 9 - February 27, 2016
What is that color at the Particle Horizon, at the furthest point that we can see? Between Heaven and Earth? …I started by pouring pigments on the earth, and from that to a sculptural space, the earth as a sculpture moving in space. – Lita Albuquerque
Kohn Gallery is pleased to present a new body of work by Lita Albuquerque – composed of new pigment paintings and sculpture installations, Embodiment continues her investigations into space, color, materiality and the body. For decades, Albuquerque has been working in remote locations and deserts as sites to execute artworks that mark time and space, and in so doing our relationship to light, matter and one another. Often working with materials as raw and essential as her subject matter, Albuquerque’s work, whether on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica, the Pyramids at Giza, or taking her graduate students to the ancient Mayan temples and sacred cenotes, elucidates an intense participatory experience.
In response to research on pigments and an obsession with the vibratory quality of color on the perceptual system and the body, Albuquerque’s choice of color for the exhibition embarks upon a new horizon for the artist. Subtle variations of rose madder (taken from lake roots), soft purple vesuvianite (originally found on Mt. Vesuvius) and pigments used in centuries-old Japanese painting technique called Enogu form the main gallery’s palette. Executed on layers of black and white pigment backgrounds, the paintings’ top layers of colorful pigment begin to vibrate and form a tonal language. Light is at once absorbed, reflected and refracted – perhaps metaphors for light as consciousness. And if we can consider light equivalent to consciousness, than these paintings highlight our collective awareness so that perception is made possible. It is no surprise that Albuquerque’s choice of pigment takes us from lake waters to volcanoes, from the roots of plants to the roots of the earth’s core, materials that are at once below and above the earth’s surface. A small gallery holds a singular indigo blue painting – a color that embraces its own transitory position between blue and violet – highlighting the artist’s fascination with the ‘in-between’ space.
Further accentuating the exhibition’s vibratory sense of space are three long parallel deposits of salt. Salt, a mineral coming from the sea and sediments of dry lakebeds possesses a different quality of light than those particles of pigment in the paintings. These installations are navigational, not only for the viewers but also for the light particles that have entered Albuquerque’s metaphysical playground – they are bridges that possess and distribute fractal information.