What Only Paint Can Do, January 19 – February 23, 2012

Original press materials:

WHAT ONLY PAINT CAN DO: An Erratic Selection of Triangle Alumni

Karen Wilkin, Curator

Triangle Arts Association celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of its founding and its tenth year in DUMBO this year. WHAT ONLY PAINT CAN DO was organized to honor this double milestone. The twelve artists in the show – ANDREW BAER, FRANCES BARTH, ANDREA BELAG, MATT BLACKWELL, GREGORY FORSTNER, DAVID FRATKIN, DANA GORDON, JAMES LITTLE, JILL NATHANSON, LARRY POONS, SUMMER WHEAT, and ALUN WILLIAMS – are all alumni of Triangle’s workshop and residency programs, from various times, who live and work in the New York City area. They come from different generations, have very different backgrounds and formations as artists, and work in very different ways. The variety of their approaches is notable, ranging from Poons’s and Belag’s lush, intense explorations of the power of color and touch to Forstner’s and Wheat’s equally intense updates on figuration and narrative; from Barth’s and Nathanson’s cool, ambiguous investigations of painting languages to Blackwell’s and Williams’s quirky, modern day allegories; from Gordon’s and Little’s eye-testing riffs on dazzling color and the permutations of geometry to Baer’s and Fratkin’s complex, unstable expanses of saturated hues.

What unites these diverse artists is their decision to employ the time-honored medium of paint, in all its present day manifestations, from oil to acrylic to resins. Their multivalent works not only affirm that the physical properties of paint can have expressive, formal, and conceptual power, but they also offer proof that the medium with a long and distinguished history can be adapted to a broad spectrum of modern day conceptions of what a picture can be. In the hands of these artists, “traditional” paint becomes utterly contemporary, capable of being made to answer a host of emotional, physical, conceptual, and formal demands. Some of the artists in this exhibition also work in other media, including still photography and video, yet all honor the flexibility, sensuality, and responsiveness of paint.

Since Triangle’s founding in 1982 by the British sculptor Anthony Caro and the collector/publisher Robert Loder, the workshop has moved from rural upstate New York to the World Trade Center, with special workshops held in Barcelona, Spain, and Marseille, France, to Brooklyn. Since 2002, the workshop and residency programs have had a permanent home in DUMBO, thanks to the generosity of Two Trees Management.

Triangle was global before the concept was invented. The three points of the original triangle were the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain; by year two, South African and French artists took part, as well. Today, Triangle boasts alumni from forty eight countries on six continents. Much has changed in thirty years, but Triangle remains faithful to its founding idea that artists learn from artists. At the first workshop, in 1982, every participant was a painter or sculptor; today’s artists might employ anything from video to toasted bread, as well as – as the artists in WHAT ONLY PAINT CAN DO – more traditional means. As this exhibition makes clear, paint, that most elemental of mediums has lost none of its potency over the last thirty years. In fact, the inventive original work of these Triangle alumni expands the possibilities of what their chosen medium can do.

Installation images (courtesy Etienne Frossard):

We also held a panel discussion on February 2, 2012 for this exhibition entitled, “Painting Today.” Panelist were Andrea Belag, Matt Blackwell, Gregory Forstner, Jill Nathanson and Larry Poons and the discussion was moderated by curator Karen Wilkin.

Images from panel discussion (courtesy of Etienne Frossard):

Artist Bios:

ANDREW BAER  Triangle Workshop 2002

Andrew Baer lives and works in New York City. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity College and a law degree from Columbia Law School. He has studied visual arts at Columbia University with a number of prominent artists and teachers, including Medrie MacPhee, David Chow, Gregory Amenoff, Stuart Diamond, David True and Tomas Vu Daniel. He has been an artist participant in a Triangle Arts workshop, for which he received a grant from New York Foundation for the Arts, and a member of The Painting Center, New York, NY. His work is included in several private collections.

FRANCES BARTH  Triangle Workshop 1991

Born in New York, Frances Barth received her BFA and MA in painting from Hunter College. Early in her career, she performed with Yvonne Rainer and Joan Jonas in New York. Barth has exhibited widely and is represented in many corporate and public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, an Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation grant, two American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase awards, and an Anonymous Was a Woman grant. She is a member of the National Academy of Art and Design. Barth is director of the Mt. Royal School of Art, Maryland College of Art. She is represented by Sundaram Tagore Gallery in New York and Los Angeles.

ANDREA BELAG  Triangle Workshop 1991

Andrea Belag lives and works in New York City. She studied at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting & Sculpture and is currently a member of the faculty of School of Visual Arts. Belag has had many exhibitions in the United States and Europe and her work is in many private and public collections. This includes: The Jewish Museum, New York; Mead Museum, Amherst College, Newark Museum, New Jersey State Museum, Montclair Museum, and Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art. She has received fellowships from The Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation at Bellagio, Italy, National Endowment for the Arts, and New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

MATT BLACKWELL  Triangle Workshop 2002, Residency 2004

Born in Lyons, New York, Matt Blackwell received his BFA, from Maine College Of Art, and his Masters degree from the University of North Carolina. In 1980 he received a full scholarship to Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. From 1980 to 1984, he lived and painted on Monhegan Island, Maine. Since 1990 he has lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York. Since then, he has been represented in over fifty exhibitions. Blackwell is represented by the Edward Thorp Gallery, New York,where he had his fourth solo show in October. He has been awarded a variety of residency fellowships at Yaddo, Triangle Arts Association, and The Vermont Studio Center. He has taught at the University of Maine, Oberlin College, Fairfield University, and at Haveford University. Blackwell’s work is included in private collections and entered the collection of The American Academy of Arts and Letters through a purchase award.

GREGORY FORSTNER  Triangle Workshop 2006, Residency 2008

Born in Douala, Cameroon in 1975, Gregory Forstner studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, The Villa Arson in Nice and the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris. Forstner has exhibited widely and is represented in many foundations and public collections in France, Germany and the USA, including the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, the Musée de Grenoble, the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Nice, the Fond National d’Art Contemporain, the Fond Régional d’Art Contemporain Alsace, the Fond Régional d’Art Contemporain Haute-Normandie, Collection Claudine et Jean-Marc Salomon, Collection SACEM, Sammlung Goetz and Richard Massey Foundation. In 2008, he received a grant from the French Ministry of Culture for a one year residency with Triangle Arts Association in Brooklyn, NY. He is represented by Galerie Zink in Berlin, Eva Hober in Paris, Otto Zoo in Milan. Gregory Forstner has lived and worked in Brooklyn, NY since January 2008.

DAVID FRATKIN  Triangle Workshop 1997

David Fratkin is a native of Brooklyn. He studied art history at Williams College and then painting and drawing at the New York Studio School. He was a founding member of the Painting Center and now sits on their board. He has had solo shows at 55 Mercer Gallery and the Painting Center, and has participated in many group shows at the Painting Center, 55 Mercer, Larry Elder Gallery, Andrew Young Gallery and the Studio School. Fratkin also has curated a number of exhibits at the Painting Center, LIU, Brik Gallery in Catskill, NY, and Watson-Macrae in Sanibel, Florida. He lives and paints in Manhattan.

DANA GORDON  Triangle Workshop 1988

Dana Gordon’s paintings have been in solo shows in New York at the Andre Zarre Gallery, 55 Mercer Gallery, the Painting Center, and the Ericson Gallery, among others. Grants and residencies for painting include the Pollock Krasner Foundation, Edward Albee Foundation, Millay Colony, and Triangle Artists’ Workshop. Collections include Brooklyn Museum of Art, MIT, Adelphi University, Royal Film Archive of Belgium, Philip Morris, Inc., Edward Albee, Wilfred Heilbut, Hilton Kramer, Sydney and Francis Lewis, Wilson Nolen, and Virgil Thomson. Early in his career he made experimental films, which had solo shows at MoMA and film museums internationally. Gordon worked as an assistant for artists Tony Smith and George Sugarman. He studied painting and writing at Brown (BA), and painting at Hunter (MA). He also studied photography with Aaron Siskind in Chicago. His writing on art has been published in Commentary, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Sun, and the Jerusalem Post. He has taught art at the Universities of Michigan, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin and was Distinguished Visiting Artist at Adelphi University. Dana Gordon was born in Boston, grew up in Chicago, where he studied at the Art Institute, and has lived in New York City most of his adult life.

JAMES LITTLE  Triangle Workshop 2000

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, James Little received his BFA from the Memphis Academy of Art and his MFA from Syracuse University, New York. He has exhibited his intensely colored geometric paintings in numerous solo and group shows across the United States and the Netherlands. Among other prestigious awards, he has received grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the Joan Mitchell Foundation. Little’s work is included in many private, corporate, and private collections including the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, the Library of Congress, Washington, DC, the Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, and the Occidental Petroleum Company, Aberdeen, Scotland. Little lives and works in New York. He is represented by June Kelly Gallery, New York.

JILL NATHANSON  Triangle Workshop 1982

Jill Nathanson was born in New York and received her BA from Bennington College and her MFA from Hunter College. In 1982, as a recently graduated young painter, she was selected by Anthony Caro to participate in the first Triangle Artist’s Workshop, held in Pine Plains, New York. Nathanson has been exhibiting in solo and group shows since 1981, including several curated exhibitions at The Painting Center and other New York locations. Recent touring exhibitions of works exploring analogies between color and Kabbalah have been seen at the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art and at Yale University, among other venues. Her work is in numerous private and public collections. She is represented by Messineo Art Projects/Weyman Contemporary in New York. Nathanson’s work is included in the National Academy Museum Annual, 2012. She lives and works in New York.

LARRY POONS  Triangle Workshop 1983, 1986, Barcelona 1987

Born in Japan to American parents, Poons studied at both the New England Conservatory of Music and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Poons first came to national attention in 1965, when he was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition “The Responsive Eye”. Since then, he has appeared in the film “Painters Painting” and had numerous exhibits in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, including a solo show at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He has taught at such institutions as Bennington College, VT, the New York Studio School, and Winchester School of Art, England. Poons’s work is in numerous private and public collections internationally, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Stedlijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Tate, London, and many more. Poons is represented in New York by Danese and Loretta Howard galleries. When he is not racing motorcycles, he lives and works in New York City and East Durham, NY.

ALUN WILLIAMS  Triangle Workshop 1993

Alun Williams was born in Manchester (UK) in 1961. He received his undergraduate training at the University of Manchester, the School of Art of the University of Wales, the National Art School in Bourges (beginning a long relationship with France) and Blackheath School of Art in London, before receiving his Masters from Goldsmiths’ College, University of London. He has also participated in many international residencies. In addition to his dedicated studio practice, and numerous exhibitions, in 1992, with Isabelle Viallat, Williams created the Association La Vigie in Nîmes, and in 1995 founded, with Claire Lesteven and Bernard Plasse, Triangle France Association, in Marseille. Since 1998, Williams has lived and worked in New York. In 2000, he founded the experimental gallery Parker’s Box in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In 2004 the French Ministry of Culture and Communication made Alun Williams Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

SUMMER WHEAT  Triangle Residency 2010

Summer Wheat is an adventurer in the realm of contemporary paint. Her works are often heroic in size, but even more intrepid in their fearless psychological exploration and manipulation of the medium. She uses tools to ice her canvases like cakes and weave strands of paint together like yarn. She has traveled, lived and worked throughout the United States and abroad, collecting stories, curiosities and eccentric encounters. She received her MFA in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she was awarded the Lacoste Graduate Residency in Lacoste, France. Since moving to New York she has participated in numerous group shows and was awarded a year long studio residency at Triangle Arts Association in Brooklyn. Her paintings are in numerous private collections and are on permanent public display at the Des Plaines Children’s Library in Chicago, Illinois and the Turner and Associates Architectural firm in Atlanta, Georgia.