Edward Cella Art & Architecture is proud to announce its participation in Intersect Aspen. Pattern | Language proposes interconnections of five contemporary artists and one iconic 20th century architect who develop distinct modes of abstract visual expression. Inspired by the innovative publication, Abstract Art: A Global History by Professor Pepe Karmel (Thames & Hudson, 2020); Pattern | Language showcases the work of Kendell Carter, Wosene Worke Kosrof, Brad Miller, Patti Oleon, Aili Schmeltz and Frank Lloyd Wright. Each artist builds on the seminal thesis of Karmel’s research that, is in his words, “abstract art is always rooted in experience of the real world.”
Intersect Aspen will take place from August 1 – 5, 2021 in person at the Ice Palace in Aspen, CO and simultaneously on Artsy through August 19, 2021.
Pattern | Language highlights the works of two African American artists of different generations who use text as a focus of their painting practice. Wosene Worke Kosrof (b.1950, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) creates poetic and lyrical compositions built on his inventive renderings of the Amharic script, one of the few indigenous written languages of Africa. Often pulling from his vivid memories growing up in in the streets of Addis Ababa, Wosene’s enigmatic abstractions inspire looking and suggest entire worlds in and of themselves. Emigrating to the US in 1977 and later studying painting at Howard University Howard University (Washington, DC), he is among a generation of artists of the African Diaspora who begin to adapt their native cultures and heritages to Modern and Contemporary painting. Wosene continues this to today in his Berkeley, California studio where the city’s diverse cultural mix adds another context to his work.
Similarly, Kendell Carter (b. 1970, New Orleans, Louisiana) creates distinctive cast abstract paintings composed of mantra-like words. Sustaining a dedication to observing and exploring race, gender, history, and consumer culture; Carter pursues a practice acknowledging the rapidly integrating and shifting nature of today's visual cultures. Employing both sculpture and painting processes; he creates distinctive hybrid paintings incorporating the freehand gestures of graffiti, casting techniques, and an intuitive process-based method of making physical objects that emerge from difficult and uncertain conditions. In Carter’s words, “Art’s extraordinary strength is its ability to arrest and dissolve beliefs caused by linear thinking. Visual art uses iconography and gestures to create belief through seeing creating conditions in which heartfelt and tangible perceptions can shift.
Additionally, Pattern | Language highlights the works of two women artists working in California. The mesmeric paintings of Patti Oleon (b. 1954, St. Louis, MO) simultaneously encourage and undermine expectations. Based on a series of photographs of apartment buildings and landscapes in Los Angeles where she grew up; Oleon transforms these interior and exterior spaces into dense and layered compositions first using digital tools and then again through the meticulous process of creating her oil paintings. These compositions are an amalgam of incidents and real places dislocated in time and space, realistically rendered but on the verge of abstraction. Like a confounding fiction or film noir; the paintings present what appears to be factual, yet are rife with association, ambiguities, and transmutations. She discovers the disquiet in the midst of the mundaneness.
The natural landscape, utopian architecture and the development of the American West is a focus for the research-based, multi-disciplinary methods of Aili Schmeltz (b. 1975, Davenport, IA). Aware of the failures of Modernism; Schmeltz sets forth to remake the stepped and undulating forms of early 20th century architecture and high Modernist painting using her Feminist informed sensibilities and handmade aesthetics. Her ongoing series entitled, Object/Window/Both/Neither contest notions of perfection and conflates three-dimensional objects with two-dimensional forms and patterns. Intuitively drawing in the colors, light, and textures of the landscapes that surround her Joshua Tree studio; Schmeltz inventively seeks visual expression through parallel painting, drawing and sculpture-based practices.
For more than five decades, many of them spent in and around Aspen as both a practicing artist and community arts leader; Brad Miller (b. 1950, New York, NY) has worked with clay, other sculptural mediums, and photograms to explore the formal archetypes of organic systems for both their physical and conceptually aesthetic properties. Discovering interlocking biomorphic structures, spiraling forms, and cellular patterns through firing, torching, sanding, tumbling, and grinding processes, Miller physically interacts with fired clays in unique and distinct ways. Employing the methodologies of abstract expressionism and conceptualism, Miller orchestrates accidents to build his work that ultimately reveal lyrical and transformative patterns that evoke nature itself.
Given the gallery’s long commitment to exhibiting extraordinary historic architectural drawings; ECAA presents a previously unknown preparatory drawing for the Master Plan of Olive Hill, for Aline Barnsdall by, perhaps, the most iconic architect of the 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959). Envisioning the complex group of buildings for the site – including the UNESCO recognized Hollyhock House – this drawing is part of a sequence proposing the ever-expanding Barnsdall commission. Likely prepared by Rudolph Schindler while he was working for Wright in 1918-19; the color pencil drawing considers variations to the theater, related artist’s studios, and conveys the architect’s intention to create sculptural forms constructed of cast concrete blocks in an arcadia like landscape. Though never built, this rendering is related to others held by significant public institutions documenting this legendary project that is widely regarded as a highpoint of Wright’s career and the expression of his philosophy of Organic Architecture.