Rat Hole Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Gabriel Orozco on view from June 28 until October 26, 2019. The exhibition marks Orozco’s second exhibition at the gallery, following “Visible Labor” (Rat Hole Gallery, 2015) and a major retrospective of the artist’s work presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, also held in 2015. On view in the exhibition is a suite of new paintings, sculptures, and drawings made in both Mexico and Tokyo, where the artist has been dividing his time in recent years.
Orozco’s new paintings, sculptures, and drawings executed with watercolors and graphite on gold shikishi (Japanese colored paper traditionally used for calligraphic poems and paintings), demonstrate the artist’s sustained interest in the relationship between sculpture and painting, object and image, and movement and spatial form, combined with a geometric language of circles and circular rotations that Orozco is known for. The works, typically representing a mapping of movements and counter-movements, also incorporate references to Japanese painting, Post-Impressionism, and Matisse, and are derived from motifs of our physical world, expressing the artist’s preoccupation with forms of nature that has continued to the present.
The two sculptures in the exhibition, one composed of white marble and the other of red tezontle, a variety of porous volcanic rock used extensively in Mexico, each originated as a cube measuring thirty centimeters on each side. Using a compass to create a composition of interlocking circles on each face of the cube, the artist then carved according to his drawings, yielding cylindrical forms and oblique curves on the block of stone while simultaneously emphasizing negative space. Historical references to French modernist sculpture in the early 20th century, from Brancusi to the Cubist works of Lipshitz, can be seen, as well as connections to the artist’s own work, such as Yielding Stone (1992) and his carved river stones (2013).
In Orozco’s large-scale paintings, according to art historian Briony Fer, “a geometric lexicon has become highly decorative as well as chromatically charged with allusions to the exotic. Neither completely abstract nor entirely figurative, a geometric order succumbs or yields in some irresistible way to the look of nature,” as in the case of the largest painting in the exhibition, the body of a whale. Several drawings that form the departure point for the Orozco’s recent paintings are also on view in the exhibition, revealing an insight into the artist’s intuitive yet geometrical construction of form and color, and presenting a critical dialogue that bridges dimensions of space in the artist’s entire oeuvre.