McClain Gallery is pleased to announce its second solo show of David Row's work in Houston with an exhibition featuring new paintings, works on paper, and sculptures in cast glass. A major figure in the New York art scene of the 1980s and 90s, David Row is well known for his distinct approach to non-representational geometric abstraction. For Row, abstraction allows the work to exist and evolve on its own terms, while permitting the work to be interpreted in a plethora of ways.
Elements highlights the significance of drawing as integral to Row's artistic process. The foundations of his drawings and paintings begin with a series of points or constellations from which the artist works to interconnect with a layered network of shapes and lines. Within this complex geometric framework, one is able to see evidence of every decision made and mark realized. Thinner, transparent layers of paint vividly interact with grounds underneath, whereas more opaque passages emphasize the overall compositions that seem to want to jump beyond their shaped supports, themselves composed of multiple polygonal canvases.
You can catch glimpses of such worked layers in the painting Indiscrete (2013), painted in hues that are subtly at odds with one another but merge to created a united whole: among its dense layers of rich crimson and on the borders of an inky ellipse, peeks an acidic green. Such playful evidence of the artist's gesture and process invites the viewer to take a closer look.
His works on vellum possess a decidedly more gestural approach, but still contain within them a reference to Row's iconic rippling line and evidence of the artist's hand. Rendered in charcoal these volumetric drawings further push his ongoing investigation into the "relationship of curvilinear space and hard edged geometric space" closer to a third dimension.
With this exhibition, Row debuts his sculpture in cast glass. New to his oeuvre, Row sees his glass works as a "fusion of pure drawing and pure light." He came upon the concept of these works by way of his desire to see them in a three-dimensional form as "defined by color rather than line." While his glass sculpture may seem like a departure from his two-dimensional work, they revolve around a set of concerns rampant in his paintings, works on paper and vellum, and prints: "drawing as a means to invent a particular space, tension between the concrete and the ineffable, and the tangible qualities of light and color."
David Row lives and works in New York City and currently teaches painting at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He received both his B.A. in 1972 and his M.F.A. in 1975 from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. He has been honored as Scholar of the House in Painting at Yale (1971-1972) and with a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in Painting (1987). He received the Isaac N. Maynard Prize for Painting from the National Academy Museum, New York, in May 2008.
Row's solo museum shows include Ennead, originating at the Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas (2000), and traveling to The McKinney Avenue Contemporary in Dallas, Texas (2001). His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, both nationally and internationally, including Conceptual Abstraction at Hunter College, Times Square Gallery, New York (2012); Divergent Models, at the Nassauischer Kunstverein in Wiesbaden, Germany (1997); Trois Collections d'Artistes, at the Musee des Beaux Arts in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland (1996); Critiques of Pure Abstraction at the Armand Hammer Museum of Art at UCLA, and traveled to the Blaffer Gallery at the University of Houston (1995); and Italia/America l'Astrazione Redefinita, at the State Museum of San Marino, Italy (1993).
He is represented in various museum collections including The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The Brooklyn Museum, The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, and Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine. Articles about Row's work have been featured in many publications such as Artforum (1989), ARTnews (2000), The New York Times (2001), Art on Paper (2005), and Art in America (2007).