Ruth Pastine: Counterpoint


September 8, 2012 - October 27, 2012

Edward Cella Art + Architecture, is pleased to present Counterpoint, a new series of pastel works on paper by Ruth Pastine.  Exhibited in the ECAA project room, Counterpoint marks a departure for the artist in terms of media, and technique, and conveys a renewed sense of immediacy and expanded polychromatic range.  While the artist’s earlier work conveyed a formal preoccupation with seamlessness and the homogeneity of the monochromatic surface, Counterpoint explores the “edge” and beckons us into the margins of color. 

Pastine’s practice to date has focused on the phenomenological investigation of color, and its optical invocation of temperature, light, and space.  The artist’s work belongs to a larger historical dialogue relating to the atmospheric explorations of color field, the abrupt chromatic transitions common to hard edge abstraction, and the interest in perceptual phenomena central to the Southern California based Light and Space movement.  We experience a deliberately divisive color field, defined by the concision and finitude of the square in Counterpoint.  This serial body of work cites the compositional discipline and fascination with the “edge” central to Josef Albers’ (1888- 1976) oeuvre, an artist famously dedicated to a prolific study of the chromatic square, and whose conceptual tenets deeply influenced the movements cited above.  The works engage this tradition of formal seriality, and can stand alone or engage one another in compelling pairings and groupings.

Pastine’s use of pastel in this body of work bestows it with a new materiality.  While the artist’s practice has hitherto been dedicated to concealing material investigations in favor of the immaterial impression, Counterpoint becomes more about disclosing the surface, revealing the shift, and uncovering the edge.  The artist’s use of soft pastels on a paper ground stages drawing as a departure from her painterly practice.  The luminosity and coverage of the pastels is built through composite layers and an “under painting” application technique.  Executed through a drawing medium, the work becomes less about coverage and uniformity, and rather more about mark making and disclosing parameters.  While still beautifully executed as graduated expanses of color, the pastel work reveals the texture and tactility of the paper beneath, and feels less mediated by the process of its application.  This material variability, in combination with the more abrupt chromatic shifts, results in work that feels more expressive, less restrained, and less preoccupied with the imperceptible, while still holding to Pastine’s refined minimalism.  Change is more vibrant, color more experimental, and the surface more dynamic and shifting.   

Ruth Pastine was born in New York City, and currently resides in Southern California. She received her B.F.A. from Cooper Union in New York in 1987, and an M.F.A. in Painting from Hunter College, CUNY, New York, in 1993.  Pastine has recently had solo exhibitions with Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna Beach (2011), with Brian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco (2011), and with Quintenz & Company Fine Art, Aspen (2012). Her work has been featured in several prominent Art Fairs, including the Armory NY with Danese gallery, and is featured in several private and public collections.  Recently pastel works on paper from the Counterpoint series were acquired by the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and by the Public Collection of the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, CA.

Concurrently on view at ECAA is Penelope Gottlieb Gone, new paintings and works on paper.

For press inquiries, images, or general questions contact:
Edward Cella

Edward Cella Art + Architecture
6018 Wilshire Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90036