Sargent’s Daughters is pleased to present Orly Genger and James Siena: Works on paper. The exhibition will be on view from Friday, September 19th through Sunday, October 26th, 2014. An opening reception will take place on Friday, September 19th. The exhibition presents new works on paper by both artists and is presented in collaboration with Pace Gallery.
James Siena is known for his rigorous, rule-based linear abstractions in painting, drawing, etchings and prints. His “visual algorithms” are composed of freehand patterns with self-imposed limitations and restrictions. In this entirely new body of work, exhibited here for the first time, Siena forgoes his usual free-hand approach and instead turns to his extensive collection of manual typewriters to create his compositions. The use of a typewriter transforms the drawings into poetic arrangements, calling to mind writers of the Oulipo and playing on the inherent mathematical quality of poetry. Siena speaks of his drawings as two-dimensional machines, and in using an actual machine to create this new body of work he cedes a certain amount of control to the device. With the typewriter there is no going back, and the subtle imbalances and adjustments of each keystroke allow the works to become both printed and drawn-- a crossroads of the human and machine.
Order and constraint are also present in Orly Genger’s meticulous drawings of abstracted superhero limbs that jumble and pile together to form a universal whole. Atmospheric perspective is the starting point for the drawings, in which freely drawn gestural lines recede and intensify to create depth on the flat surface. Genger is best known for her immense rope sculpture installations, which she relates to drawings in space. These colossal forms begin with single lengths of rope repeatedly knotted to generate bulk and form. The new drawings are built up in a similar additive process; layers of linear ink marks suggest depth while embracing the flatness of the pictorial plane. Genger's physical entanglement with her process and materials is reflected in her choice of superhero parts, containing strength and brawn, but fragmented to shape a regenerated ensemble. The creation of powerful smaller elements to build, layer upon layer, an intact entity echos Genger's sculptural forms and presents the hand of the artist as the most powerful tool.
The actual content of each artist’s works becomes a neutral: whether the disembodied limbs or the precise type, the effect of repetition sets the viewer into another realm of consciousness. Siena’s drawings are emphatically involved with the edge and Genger’s forms match this interest in boundaries—both self-imposed and natural. These stringent procedures and limits employed by both artists in making the pieces are partially what permit the viewer the extraordinary freedom when viewing them.
Orly Genger (b. 1979) lives in New York City and works in Brooklyn. She received her B.A. from Brown University in 2001, and attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002. She has served as a guest lecturer/visiting artist at MassArt, Museum of Arts and Design, Ohio State University, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Cranbrook Academy of Art, and the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, among others.
James Siena (b. 1957) is New York based. He received his B.F.A from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York in 1979. His work is held in numerous prestigious public and private collections across the U.S., including Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. He is represented by Pace Gallery.