Brent Wadden Weaves Modernism in a Whole New Way

 

Brent Wadden,  Mitchell-Innes & Nash

Brent Wadden
Red/Blue #2
Painting – Handwoven fibers, wool, cotton and acrylic on canvas

 

Brent Wadden’s solo show, currently on view at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York City, is first major U.S solo show as well as with the gallery. The self titled show features 8 of the artist’s hand woven ‘paintings’, which he has become known for. Wadden’s pieces cross and merge artistic or expected ideas and medium in an interesting way.

“Woven” usually signifies handcraft and yes his work is hand made but do not look like what one expects to see when hearing the word. The pieces share rather more pictorial characteristics with Modernist paintings than with folk art. This painterly quality is why it feels appropriate to refer to the works as “paintings” rather than tapestries or the like.

Predominantly done in two contrasting colors the pieces are woven into geometrical shapes that are not quite abstract or minimalist. The use of hand weaving and fiber seems to interrupt the austerity associated with geometrical abstraction. The shape’s lines of are more gestural than severe.

 

Brent Wadden,  Mitchell-Innes & Nash

Brent Wadden Alignment #20 ,2013

 

Formally the paintings fall somewhere between Frank Stella’s geometrical minimalism and Native American Weavings. Yet part of what makes the work so compelling is that it is neither or both. As they are not quite gestural abstraction, ‘flat’ modernism or craft they blue the definitions of “fine art” and “folk art.” In this way Wadden’s paintings are kind of textural and expressive while still working with the concepts of Modernism.

Brent Wadden runs at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 534 W 26th St in New York City, through May 30, 2015.

All images courtesy Mitchell-Innes & Nash.

 

Brent Wadden,  Mitchell-Innes & Nash

Installation view “Brent Wadden” at Mitchell-Innes & Nash

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by Robin Newman
in Focus on the East Coast

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