Continuing through June 29, 2019
Brooklyn-based Justin Adian’s current solo exhibition is a homecoming of sorts for the artist, who was born in Fort Worth and studied art at the University of North Texas, ultimately completing an MFA at Rutgers. This recently opened venue intends to showcase artists from New York, where the owners operated a gallery for several years. In this work Adian traverses a razor’s edge between painting and sculpture. Each is executed starting with felt that’s wrapped in canvas and painted with several layers of oil enamel. Mounted to the wall, each piece includes several irregular forms, or volumes, either stacked one over the other vertically, or made to project away from the wall. The bright colors glow and shine, as in “Mesa” where orange, yellow and white combine to pleasing effect.
While this work’s color sensibility brings to mind Ellsworth Kelly’s shaped canvases, they bypass Kelly’s hard edge. Think Lynda Benglis’ poured paint pieces, and their bronze counterparts, where anti-form reigns supreme. Adian’s work is seductive and organic by nature, with the feel of a DIY building block organizing principle at work. In “Rubble” two vertical strands of four forms each, painted white, pink, gray and peach precariously climb up the wall, waiting for the slightest breath to topple the staggered composition. The only sculpture, “Untitled,” with its five stacked columnar forms, sits in the middle of the gallery space. The paint looks like it’s melting off the surface of this leaning tower. Adian distills reality down to a primal state, strips out all unnecessary visual noise, and moves us to ponder the essential nature of the visual world.