Permeable/Resistant: Recent Drawings and Paintings
November 1 – December 21, 2018
Opening reception: Thursday, November 1, 6-8:30pm
Artist talk: Saturday, November 17, 4pm
Thomas Erben Gallery is very excited to present a solo exhibition with New York-based painter Harriet Korman. The artist previously participated in two of our group shows, Painting in due time (2017) and of certain instability (2011).
Presenting a new body of work, Korman continues her celebrated engagement with color, geometry, the picture plane, paint, and her handling of it. With such interests, Korman has frequently been cited as a champion of geometric abstraction or cast as a colorist: roles she has subtly sidestepped for decades. Countering an understanding of her work that can often be too programmatic, this new series steers towards her work’s ability to surprise. Permeable/Resistant captures Korman where she often works: challenging and disrupting first impressions.
Varying between loose, rapid (oilstick) drawings and slow deliberate (oil) paintings, the exhibition opens a space to the genial directness of Korman’s work, a recognition that bespeaks of the personal quality to her art. The exhibition flows with colors, rhythm, structure, intensity, and more than a few variances—often the lines in her paintings don’t match up; what appears to be symmetrical is not; clean edges are betrayed by their undisguised hand-painted nature; surfaces vary due to the materiality of the paints she applied.
Embarking on this new body of work, drawing in oilstick, a quadrant format emerged that became the series. Some of these were then reworked into oil paintings. Reflecting on this process, Korman noted how, “The transformation of the loose, quick drawings to a slow deliberate painting is curious. Like a translation, once removed from the original, there is a quirkiness and unpredictability.”
Immediately striking is the intensity of Korman’s colors; they project a particular clarity and strength. This is in part due to Korman’s decision in 1996 to not add white into her colors. One reason for this radical decision was that lighter values usually allude to light and space—not an interest of hers. Another was to see the true intensity and beauty of the color right out of the tube. And while she does not mix in white, Korman frequently uses earth colors along with the highly saturated hues, adding an additional dimension to the their initial, immediate appeal.
“This makes sense to me”, Korman has explained, testifying to the matter-of-factness, a quiet sense, and the personal aspects, all present in her work. In this way, Permeable/Resistant tends to mirror some of the simplicity, use of geometry, and directness in two artists Korman particularly admires: Sol Lewitt and Louis Kahn. Indeed, by pairing her recent output in painting and drawing, Permeable/Resistant hints to that particular constant in Korman’s work: it’s ability to be simultaneously complex and uncomplicated, enduring and personal.
Harriet Korman (born 1947) studied at Queens College and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been exhibited widely in solo and group shows, beginning with her earliest exhibitions at Galerie Ricke (Cologne, 1970), Lo Guidice Gallery (New York, 1972), Claire Copley Gallery (Los Angeles, 1974), and Daniel Weinberg Gallery (San Francisco, 1976). Since 1992, she has been represented by the Lennon Weinberg Gallery (New York).
Her work was featured in the Ten Young Artists-Theodoron Awards at the Guggenheim Museum (1971), Whitney Annual (1972), and Whitney Biennial (1973 and 1995). Recently, her work was included in a traveling exhibition, High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967-75, organized by Independent Curators International, and a three person show at MoMA PS1 (both 2007).
Works by Harriet Korman are included in the collections of many institutions including: Guggenheim (New York); Weatherspoon Art Gallery (Greensboro, North Carolina); Maier Museum (Lynchburg, Virginia); Joslyn Art Museum (Omaha, Nebraska), and the Blanton Museum (Austin, Texas). Korman has received grants and awards from the Guggenheim Museum (1971), the National Endowment for the Arts (1974, 1987, and 1993), Yaddo Residency (1996), the Edward Albee Foundation (1997), the American Academy of Arts & Letters (2003), the National Academy Museum where she was also inducted (2006), the Pollock Krasner Foundation (2008), and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2013). Korman is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at the Fashion Institute of Technology (1989–present). She lives and works in New York City.