John Newman and Jo Nigoghossian
but almost, I could see the planet from which we had come
November 6 - December 18, 2016
Chapter NY is pleased to present but almost, I could see the planet from which we had come, a two-person exhibition with John Newman and Jo Nigoghossian. Both artists draw dynamism from material tension, defying expected spatial limitations through the construction and disjunction of physical forms. The exhibition title is taken from a poem by Beat poet, Diane di Prima, entitled Buddhist New Year Song, evoking the possibility of new beginnings through personal reflection and openness.
John Newman’s practice, although seated in the sculptural, articulates itself through diverse dimensions. The work included in the current exhibition, conjoins both Newman’s new and foundational investigations into the potential of unique materials to reformulate fixed perspectives.
When Newman began to produce his cast and contorted aluminum sculptures in the early 1980s, he drew them from scaled, seemly architectural sketches. Untitled (1987) offers an example of one of these early plans, the contours of which allude to construction through tactile rendering. Over time, these sculptural maps began to morph, accumulating the patina of life itself, through marginalia, studio marks and coloration. These new fictive diagrams materialized in tandem with Newman’s sculptural practice, both shifting towards a different kind of dimensional structure intuited through encountered objects or personal invention.
While Newman’s use of disjunctive materials underscores the possibility of ‘scale-less’ models through distinct components, Jo Nigoghossian’s sculptural practice emanates from the impact and activation of space. Pressed against material limitations, her sculptures carve out the boundaries of physical constraint through both gestural and structural means.
Like drawings in space, Nigoghossian works intuitively, utilizing the density and potential of line to build matter. While forcefully physical, Nigoghossian’s sculptures are atmosphere, rather than fixed mass. They are tangled, nearly breathing, as much the void as bounded substance–radiating, elemental, organic forms. It is through these fluctuating constructions, both energetically animate and stubbornly objectified, that Nigoghossian presses and prods social conditioning. Powerful in their urgency, her sculptures aggravate expectation through tangible force, constructed nearly to breaking, crushed under some invisible order.
Both Newman and Nigoghossian defy the constraints of material reality. They share in a mutual resistance to the fixed and weighted notion of sculpture, preferring to splinter space and shift towards a weightless unknown. Whether materially diverse, or sculpturally unsound, Newman and Nigoghossian draw fictions on the face of the earth, providing space for reflection and perhaps, some other origin.