Early Drawings Press
Early Drawings and other works
December 7 – January 20, 2001
Opening: Thursday, December 7, 6 – 8:30 pm
Thomas Erben is very pleased to present Adrian Piper's third exhibition at the gallery, which will run concurrently with a retrospective of the artist's work at The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (Oct. 26 – Jan. 21), and with a show of recent work at Paula Cooper Gallery (Nov. 30 – Jan. 6).
The exhibition's foundations are in Piper's early studies from the sixties in which she conceptualized drawing as a medium. Influenced partly by such artists as BarnettNewman, Jasper Johns and Sol LeWitt,as well as academic figure studies, she established the formal vocabulary which she has employed in her art throughout the last 30 years.
Drawings about Paper (1967) explore materiality and modernist formalism; Writings about Words (1967) take the form of concrete poetry, where personal subject matter is subjected to a system translating content into visual form; Charted Work Proposal (1968) maps her artistic activities in the following year, on a grid with time and space coordinates, and her figure studies (some of them under the influence of LSD) represent both academic pursuits and an interest in the body as an actor and a medium. All of these pieces are executed with the same coolly analytical sensibility.
In Vanilla Nightmares (1986-1990), a series of drawings executed on newspaper pages, figures are altered or inserted to relate to and undermine information structures and content.
In the Decide Who You Are series, (1992) poetry and monologues, either angry or defensive, share grid space with white authority figures, policemen, domestic and violent scenes. Two recurring images: a photograph of a young Anita Hill, and a drawing of three apes each covering ears, eyes or mouth (not seeing, not hearing, not speaking), comment ironically on the activities of the other figures, and together describe the economic and political situation in America and the world in 1992, and 8 years later.