Within, Without and About
Within, Without and About
October 26 - December 2, 2018
CANADA is pleased to announce Within, Without and About, the gallery’s second solo show with Denzil Hurley. The new paintings are modular, built from individual panels that are stacked and fitted together. Sometimes sticks or poles are attached to the bottom of the paintings, an element first introduced several years ago after the artist visited Barbados, where he was born and raised. Hurley noticed branches being used to sweep yards and sidewalks, then summarily discarded. He picked one up, stripped the leaves off and considered attaching it to one of his paintings back in his Seattle studio.
The panel/stick combination allows the work to transit between painting and utilitarian object. The sticks suggest a talisman or tool from everyday life; attached to the monochrome paintings they can resemble muted protest placards. Hurley installs these panels at a height dependent on the length of the found sticks—one end is placed on the floor while the other end appears to hold the painting up. In a sense, Hurley uses the found sticks to determine the scale of his paintings, signaling his openness to chance.
Hurley has used the title ‘Glyphs’ to refer to these works, connoting letterforms or syntax. After fashioning dozens of mostly rectangular panels he connects them to make larger rectangular works. These sculptural paintings are reminiscent of “frames” with open centers that activate the wall behind the painting. The worked, oily presence of the surfaces and the matter of fact-ness of the wall behind creates a tension that gives the pieces a feeling of respiration. The way the pieces are built, one touching the next, creates a sense of improvisation and structural integrity. The elimination of contrasting colors or obvious gesture seems to get at the “thingness” within the paintings and hints at a hard-won confidence inside of Hurley’s practice.
The paintings in Within, Without and About are engaged with both the world inside themselves and the world we occupy. The continual attack and retreat of his painting method becomes an embodiment of a physical and psychic relationship to the work; an expression of Hurley’s need to “live within the process”. Simultaneously there exists a metaphorical property, the way his paintings carry meanings that might refer to language or nature but also act as mirrors of the artist and his practice. The work may look like abstracted trees, or we can develop ideas about protest signs or building materials, but most importantly we are given a glimpse of the artist’s sense of discovery and excitement inside of making. Or again, in Hurley’s own words, his desire to ”…make noise with the square and rectangle."
Denzil Hurley is a Seattle-based artist. He holds an MFA from Yale (1979) and a BFA from the Portland Museum School (1975). His work has been exhibited widely in the US and is in the collections of The Brooklyn Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle; the Portland Art Museum, Oregon, as well as the Seattle Art Museum where Hurley was the subject of a recent solo show. Upcoming, Hurley will be included in an exhibition at the Milton Resnick and Pat Passloff Foundation in the Lower East Side, curated by Robert Storr. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship, in addition to awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. Hurley has been a professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Washington since 1994.
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