PMW GALLERY


OSBORNE, MARC

Drawings:
GEOMETRY OF THE AIR OF SANTA FE
ink, graphite, acrylic on parchment paper (except where indicated)
20 x 16"

 


Drawing #3

 


Drawing #8
acrylic on parchment paper

 


Drawing #14

 


Drawing #10

 

Paintings:
SOLID AIR
metal grids on wood board, nails, acrylic
24 x 12"

 


Painting #4

 


Painting #3

 

 


Painting #7

 

ARTIST'S STATEMENT:

Geometria del aire de Santa Fe
Geometry of the air of Santa Fe

I spent the month of July 1999 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This was my third visit there. I rented a house which included a large studio filled with windows, skylights and a panoramic view of the city and surrounding hills. I made a series of fourteen drawings on parchment paper. would routinely step out onto a small balcony holding the paper wet with paint and ink between my fingers and allow the bone-dry wind and sunshine to dry the works within minutes. discovered that I could use the wind like a tool, allowing degrees of drying and molding of the parchment to achieve desired textures and colors. During this daily process I found out that the emerging themes of these drawings were the Santa Fe wind itself and the dazzling clarity of the light through which the wind would blow. When I returned to Redding, I looked at the two-sided paneled steel grid paintings which I had made just before going to Santa Fe and recognized in them a foreshadowing of the work I was yet to do in New Mexico. If the parchment drawings were about light and air, the steel grid pieces had the density of earth: the tiny perforations allowed for air to filter through, but these works were grounded. Together, the paper drawings and the steel paintings constituted a yin and yang, a geometry of the air. Yin is the ancient Chinese female cosmic principle encompassing the moon and shade, while Yang is the masculine cosmic principle referring to the sun, the light and the air. These principles illuminated the process of making the work in this exhibition.
Marc Osborne West Redding, CT January 2000




GEOMETRIA DEL AIRE DE SANTA FE
recent works on parchment and steel
New York Times Review

The New York Times, Sunday, March 12, 2000
Out of Color and line, Minimalism's Emotion
by Dominick Lombardi

The current exhibition at the PMW Gallery in Stamford, "Geometria del Aire de Santa Fe" contains two dozen works on parchment and perforated steel. The Minimalist works, which were created by Marc Osborne in 1999, are dispersed throughout three adjoining spaces of the gallery.

Minimal art relies heavily on its ability to create feeling or mood, which in this setting is somewhat dimmed by the architectural details that surround it. In any case, when viewing minimal art, the viewer needs to be patient - that is when the essence can come forth - an open-minded moment, when the clarity and depth of the art can be fully absorbed. It must seep in slowly, perhaps through the corner of one's mind in the form of an afterthought, when one's own breath can be heard. In viewing the paintings of Mr. Osborne, one might first be reminded of the perforated metal covers on those generic institutional looking speakers that seem to dot some acoustic-tiled ceilings. A square version of the metal plate is what he paints on. He stacks two equal-sized pieces of this material, one above the other, painting each with different slightly modulated colors.

His aesthetic can be seen as a combination of the emphasis of color theory, exemplified by the work if Josef Albers, with the emotional atmosphere created in the paintings of Mark Rothko. But the most common link that Mr. Osborne's art has with the aforementioned type is its meditative quality.

All Mr. Osborne's paintings can remind some of a double-hung window, since they are split vertically, in equal halves. The texture of the steel and the way they are painted gives them the appearance of lace, allowing only some of what is behind it to come forth. When hung in an ample grouping as is the case in the Stamford show, the paintings become weighted spiritually. This is a direct reference to the Rothko Chapel at Rice University in Houston, which is exactly why the paintings fall short. They never take us from an earthly plane to a more ethereal one. Though individually the paintings could be warm and rhythmic as in "Solid Air No. 4," light and flat as in "Solid Air No. 4," or utopian and pleasant as "Solid Air No. 2," Mr. Osborne's drawings, on the other hand, are more personal and therefore more successful. He calls these works drawings, though each piece is covered in a very watered-down layer of acrylic paint. In Mr. Osborne's artist statement he refers to his use of the Santa Fe sun and wind in the drying of his works, an effect that seems to have inspired him.

Since his drawings are more familiar looking and approachable, they require less time to read. The grids or patterns in the drawings can now be slightly off, as in the unevenly spaced lines and dashes of ''Geometry of the Air of Santa Fe No. 9.''

Some of these drawings, especially "Geometry of the Air of Santa Fe No. 8," have a direct reference to the art of Agnes Martin, who is one of contemporary art's most important and influential figures. In ''No. 8,'' Mr. Osborne creates a series of two halves of parchment, one with vertical lines and the other with horizontal lines. The paper, which was wet after it was drawn on, causes the pre-drawn lines to bleed. This runny coloring may remind some of the lined writing paper that was used in school as it too ran when it was wet. Perhaps, this is why "No. 8'' has a narrative quality.

Another mildly narrative work is "Geometry of the Air of Santa Fe No. 10.'' In it, one sees a cool tan panel placed above a bright blue one. Along the bottom section of the top half, and along the upper portion of the bottom half, Mr. Osborne draws a line that is quickly scribbled over giving these markings the appearance of barbed wire. Here, one sees nature as both inviting and limiting. He seems to be saying that our bodies are earthbound, subject to gravity, while the wind and the artist's spirit are free.

The strongest reference to music in the show is ''Geometry of the Air Of Santa Fe No. 3.'' Sound is represented by the undulating optical pattern that is produced through a series of dots, a progression that is amplified by carefully ruled parallel lines.

"Geometry of the Air of Santa Fe No. 14" has the most direct reference to time. The parchment looks water-marked making it seem aged. The dots and dashes on the bottom half seem to be marking specific, concrete thoughts, not in an automatic or subconscious way, but in a definitive and conscious way that is akin to shorthand.

In the upper half the dots occasionally extend into tiny lines. This says something about the waviness of the paper. It can be dotted with an ultrafine marker or pen, a mark that is subject to a bounce-back nudge. This moment, when the pen's pressure on the paper is alleviated, the paper springs up, catching the pen's point before the artist has a chance to pull it away. It happens in a heartbeat, as the artist is grounded like lightening to a metal pole.
















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