Jason Middlebrook The Small Spaces In Between
March 25 - May 6, 2016
Opening reception Friday, March 25, 6 - 9P
Gallery 16 is pleased to announce our first exhibition with New York based artist Jason Middlebrook. This is the first West Coast solo show by the California native in over a decade. His work has been the subject of major exhibitions and public projects around the world, most recently at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary art and Site Santa Fe. The Gallery 16 exhibition will include 20 or Middlebrooks signature towering “Plank” paintings, these are geometric abstractions painted directly onto internally cut trunks from the local mill in Hudson New York. The Middlebrook’s signature patterning weds the geometry of modern abstraction with the lines of wood grain to “create a tension between something organic and something man-made.”
Middlebrook has long been interested in man’s complex and often adversarial relationship with nature. The straight lines and precise angles in his paintings might be found in math, architecture, and industry more readily than in grassy meadows or dense forests. But relying solely on this sort of metonymy is limiting. A more nuanced read reveals some of Middlebrook’s geometric patterns are also inspired by nature. Crystals and geodes form important reference points. Chevrons are a recurring motif that simultaneously refer to decorative military insignia and V-shaped, large-scale rock formations. Even Middlebrook’s metallic paints find their referents in the earth, where gold and silver originate.
The distinctions between natural and artificial, order and randomness, and man and Mother Earth are not always clear. But perhaps cloudiness is the point: instead of striving to catalogue and categorize, Middlebrook gives precedence to the feel of grass between his toes and sun on his forehead.
Jason Middlebrook, born in 1966 in Michigan, lives and works in Hudson, New York. Middlebrook has mounted solo exhibitions at a number of institutions, including the New Museum (New York), the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Connecticut), and the Santa Monica Museum of Art. He has participated in group shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Last year he unveiled a major outdoor sculpture commission at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo). Middlebrook’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Princeton University Art Museum, among others.