October 18 - November 15, 2008
Opening Reception: October 18, 6:30 - 8:30pm
ALICE ANDERSON, CECILY BROWN, VINCENT COMO, ANGELO FILOMENO, ROLAND FLEXNER, SAM GILLIAM, MONA HATOUM, FRANZ KLINE, VERA LUTTER, LINN MEYERS, BRUCE NAUMAN, MARTIN PURYEAR, AD REINHARDT, ED RUSCHA, RICHARD SERRA, JAMES SIENA, FRANK STELLA, HIROSHI SUGIMOTO, MICKALENE THOMAS, HANK WILLIS THOMAS
Black, simplistically, is the ink with which we make a mark. It can be perceived as positive or negative space. It can create the illusion of depth or remove it. It can be a symbol or depict one. The associations it carries are as varied as its interpreters, but underlying all experience is black’s mythical dichotomy with white. Understanding one demands an exploration of the other. Perfect black, however, is only theoretical; the darkest material to date, a carpet of nanotubes 100 times darker than a black painted corvette still reflects 0.045 percent light.
For artists this darkness does not come as nanotubes, but in the form of pigments: carbon, ebony, onyx, and charcoal. Black has been both subject and tool and houses its own associations as well as being a mule for others. Black can be sexy, fashionable, fascinating, mysterious and ominous. It is a symbol of devotion, bereavement and protest. Even as a word it has various interpretations; up-scale events are black tie only, a person would be happy to be “in the black” instead of “in the red,” frustrated to be black-listed, disassociate with someone in the black market and try to avoid being blackmailed.
Black is both a total lack of light and the absorption of all light. It is a source for heat and cold. Night noticeably cools, while dark materials hold warmth. The human need for darkness both physically and psychologically is equal to the need for light. For the deepest sleep we must have the darkest room. The relationship between light and dark is integral to seeing and perceiving. Animals that live in total darkness develop other primary senses like sonar and vertebrates when faced with darkness have expanding pupils to let in more light.
When we close our eyes darkness is what is left. Black is a heavy subject. It is the weight of a culture, the weight of death, the weight of science. A frostbitten limb turns black in its final stages. The richest soils are the darkest. The stars are most visible on the blackest nights. Imagine each of these artists in their studios getting ready to make a work as standing at an event horizon, carefully choosing associations and creating new definitions.
Gallery Hours are Thursday - Saturday, Noon - 5pm
(and by appointment)
4718 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20011