Art Show Reverses The Reverse

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SUMMIT—Kent Place Gallery will present an exhibition of new paintings by Ken Weathersby until Friday, Oct. 9.

In “The Reverse Side Also Has a Reverse Side,” Weathersby’s paintings present intense, elegant grids of primary color that subtly invert expectations in a number of ways.  While some of the sparkling, carefully penciled and painted canvases simply display their colorful patterns, others in whole or in part, are turned to face the wall.

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Several have cut-away sections, which have been replaced with a jeweler’s care, by fitted inset panels painted with grids that either mimic or contrast with the surrounding canvas.

The exhibition also contains a number of similarly meticulous two-sided paintings, which may be flipped and re-hung during the course of the show to expose a hidden view.  Artworks in the exhibition are new and some have been created as installation pieces specifically for this show at Kent Place Gallery.  One such work uses a unique architectural feature of the space, the white marble gravel that runs the perimeter of several walls. Canvases are embedded in the gravel at floor level.

Another painting makes a similar subtle yet decisive statement. Set snugly vertical within a carved-out hole, it is situated within, rather than hung on, the surface of the gallery wall.

The paintings in the show are related in feeling to minimal and monochrome abstract painting, presenting color and materials matter-of-factly, but the artist says they were also partly prompted by the work of 15th-century Sienese painter Giovanni di Paolo: “Giovanni’s works are full of contradictions; full of visual opulence but also of things withheld.”

In his essay “Malleable Objects,” Washington DC area curator Mark Cameron Boyd has referred to Weathersby as a “post-conceptual artist”, one whose work “addresses missed theoretical opportunities inherent in object-making.”

This exhibition as a whole and the individual works within it are oriented to create a visual play of exciting optical experiences, but also a particular kind of mental or conceptual engagement. According to the artist, “Paintings are visual objects.  Usually we think of the ‘object’ part as supporting the ‘visual’, of the wooden stretcher and canvas as just being there to hold up the image that we are meant to see.

But those two different aspects can play with or against each other to open other thoughts or yield different problems.  When the painting not only presents, but also denies pleasure or information, it complicates things.  It can require some deciphering.  It must be held in the mind as well as seen.”

Ken Weathersby grew up on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. He received an MFA in Painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Detroit and has lived in or near New York City since 1990. He has exhibited his paintings and drawings frequently.

His work was recently included in The National Academy of Art Museum’s 183rd Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art in New York, in the group exhibitions Postconceptualism at Moderno in Washington, DC, The Grid, at Milepost 5 in Portland, OR, in the Korus Project at Hun Gallery, New York (which also traveled to the Korus House Gallery, Washington, DC), in Calculating Art: Mathematics in the Visual Field at Maloney Art Gallery at the College of St. Elizabeth, Morristown, NJ, and in group shows at Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn.

In addition, his paintings were featured in the Mid-Atlantic edition of New American Paintings. He is the recipient of a Mid-Atlantic Arts /New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Painting.  Additionally, he is the chair of the art department at Kent Place School.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. The Kent Place Gallery, located on the campus of Kent Place School in Summit, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by appointment with Weathersby. For more information, call 1-908-273-0900 or visit www.kentplace.org.

Gallery Weathersby
165 (wky – detail), 2009, acrylic & graphite on canvas with removed and reversed area, 56”x 36”


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