Minimally Speaking Sculpture Exhibition

Minimally Speaking 
Stephanie Blake | John Luebtow | Matt Magee
Peter Millett | Mark Pomilio | Denise Yaghmourian
Bentley Gallery announces an exhibition of sculptures by 6 noted artists whose works can be characterized by their pared down geometric forms and the importance of the materials. 
Minimally Speaking opens on Thursday, March 5 from 6-8pm, and runs through March 31.
Throughout the1950s, the major art movement in the U.S. was Abstract Expressionism, where artists expressed their personal emotions through their work. In the early 60s Minimal Art emerged. The Minimalists believed that art had become too personal and pretentious. They thought that art should not refer to anything other than itself, and their objective was to make art that was totally objective, unexpressive, and non-referential.
The artists whose works will be exhibited in Minimally Speaking have been influenced by this historical context; however, their work is not minimalist in the sense that it lacks expression or context. The pared down nature of these artists’ works – devoid of embellishment – communicates sparseness and modernity. And yet, much of their work references their various interests and influences. Central to their art making process is the planning of the piece, where the use of materials is paramount. Gallery Director and exhibition curator John Reyes explains, The use of different media by these artists ranges from industrial (rubber and plastic) to traditional (porcelain and bronze). They employ materials in a distinct manner that is true to their personal vocabulary. To me, all of the pieces together broaden the definition of contemporary sculpture.
Stephanie Blake manipulates porcelain clay to form elegant, seemingly undulating, minimalist sculptures. Twisting and turning, her graceful abstractions have the deceptive appearance of weightlessness, grounding themselves through components of negative space and solid architectural structure. Her forms push and pull, expand and contract, creating a tension that represents the tension present in the conscious mind and in the human body.
John Luebtow has developed innovative technical processes in glass-making: Introducing and incorporating gesture and expressive qualities into impeccably finished sculptural components that result in biomorphic shapes co-existing with hard geometries, He bends one-inch sheet glass to create levels of translucence and variations in the glass purity, with surfaces that infuse the sculptures with complex layers, optical effects, and fluidity.
Matt Magee has experimented widely with abstract and conceptual art practices. Working in various media, Magee’s art references contemporary scientific, ecological, and technological advancements. He is attune to language and has dedicated entire works to a single phrase or word in exploration of meaning through a symbolic, almost hieroglyphic visual format. He often melds high formalism and social responsibility.
Peter Millett considers his work as spare, not minimalist. Modern. He seeks to distill emotional energy and experiences, and is interested in his work to impacting a space the way a melody can trigger a feeling or memory. He is interested in the ways in which folk art traditions can be measurable tests for ability and he pays tribute to them in many of his works. Millett uses the grain of wood as a textural underpinning for subtly shaded coloring of a painted or stained surface. Much of Millett’s work in wood has the worn feel of religious figurines that have been used, revered and touched often by human hands.
Mark Pomilio’s considerations are centered on developments in the life sciences. He addresses their relevance within our era and focuses on the process rather than an overt depiction. This has led to a series of geometrical equations that have evolved into pictorial representations of geometric systems of growth, emulating a single cell dividing and compounding into a complex organism. Each decision is multiplied equally throughout a field, causing a type of visual unity. This balance and symmetry is how the meditative qualities of a reflective pool or a religious icon are determined. Pomilio’s goal is to force a harmony upon the image field that forces a potential meaning through the integration of the image and title.
Denise Yaghmourian works with paper pulp, wood, thread, vinyl, and found objects. Her sculptural forms are rooted in a hybrid of past art movements and styles, yet they resonate with artistic concerns of today. Her handling of materials reference Minimalism and Post-Minimalism, as well as contemporary art making today. The simplicity of her surface veneers reveals a material-based sensibility. Conjoining the repetitive process inherent in machine-made items with laboriously repetitious handwork, Yaghmourian embraces the hypnotic and meditative inherent in both.