Claes Gabriel, Antonio Puri, Jay Walker
Fri, Feb 5 - Sat, Mar 13, 2021
Meet the Curator: Sun, Mar 7, 1-4 pm
Massey Klein Gallery
124 Forsyth St., New York, NY 10021
Wed/Thurs by appt.
"Burning Monk" 2019, acrylic on canvas, 36"x36"
"Prismatic Polygon IV" 2020, cast acrylic sheets, 46"x29"x2"
"Tantric View" (detail) 2020, acrylic and beads on canvas, 12"x19.5" (diptych)
"Circe" 2016, acrylic on canvas, 70"x46"
"Prismatic Polygon II" 2020, cast acrylic sheets, 50"x38"x2"
"Tantra II" 2020, acrylic and beads on canvas 12" x 12"
"Spear Head" 2016, acrylic on shaped canvas, 22”x12”x8”
"Paper Prismatic Polygon II" 2020, acrylic on paper, framed to 46"x32"
Massey Klein Gallery hosts an exhibition curated by Susanna Gold: Geometric Objective: Claes Gabriel, Antonio Puri, and Jay Walker. Geometric Objective features the work of three artists whose work shares aesthetic relationships in the use of intense, glowing color within a geometric framework, while each artist pursues very different goals:
Claes Gabriel (Haitian-American, based in Philadelphia) honors his African heritage in his work, often looking to Haitian culture for subject matter or African American art history as stylistic inspiration. Spear Head evokes traditional African tribal masks and weaponry, while Burning Monk, a reference to the 1963 self-immolation of Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức, and Circe, a stylized imagining of the witch-temptress in Homer’s The Odyssey, address universal issues of power and helplessness that cross time and culture. Gabriel’s flatness of form and dense, unmodulated color recalls the art of Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, and his own father, Jacques Gabriel.
Antonio Puri (Indian-American, based in Bogotá, Colombia) builds up his heavily textured compositions with tiny beads, a process that simulates the ancient Buddhist tradition of mandala sand painting. Pouring these beads into wet acrylic is a meditative act for Puri, a ritual he has been performing daily over the course of more than a year with his latest Tantra series. Puri’s complete Tantra series has just debuted at the Bolivarian Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Marta, Colombia, and makes its first US appearance at Massey Klein Gallery.
Jay Walker (American, based in Philadelphia) works with geometry and color toward cerebral rather than cultural goals. He is concerned with mathematical proportion, perception, and creating intellectual games and problems for himself, which he then carefully works out through his compositions and process. In his latest Prismatic Polygon series, Walker’s geometric forms appear to shift in color, shape, and size depending on the viewing perspective. His use of pattern, line, color, and geometry here references the aesthetic traditions of Sol Lewitt and Henri Matisse, re-cast in contemporary visual terms.
Claes Gabriel is a Philadelphia-based artist from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He is the son of the classically trained painter Jacques Gabriel (1934–1988), who depicted Haitian life in the vibrant, modernist language that has served as an inspiration to Gabriel himself. He is best known for his canvases inspired by the African Diaspora, both 2D and shaped as he often stretches canvas over hand-constructed wooden armatures to create masks and freestanding figural sculptures. Gabriel has exhibited his work in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Baltimore, MD; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; and Paris, France. His work is in the permanent collection of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, MD and in many private collections. Gabriel earned his BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and performed graduate work at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art.
Antonio Puri was born in Chandigarh, Punjab, India and raised in the Himalayas around Buddhist monks before studying at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, Coe College, and the University of Iowa. He established his studio in Philadelphia where he practiced for many years before relocating to Bogotá, Colombia. He has exhibited his work and completed artist residencies all over the world, and his work can be found in the permanent collections of prestigious art institutions in India, Mauritius, Austria, France, Colombia, and the US. Puri’s range of geographical and cultural experiences are embedded in his work, where he commonly explores the relationships between his eastern and western cultural connections.
Jay Walker is a multi-disciplinary artist who creates tape installations, street art, and mixed media paintings and drawings. He is well known for his large-scale, site-specific installations and collector's pieces created with cut vinyl, laser-cut acrylic sheets, artist-made stencils, tape, and paint. He has exhibited and has received private commissions across the US and internationally, and has had solo exhibitions at galleries throughout the east coast and southwest. Walker earned his MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and his BFA from Texas A&M at Corpus Christi.