Thomas Robertello Gallery is pleased to present artists Samantha Bittman and Gabriel Pionkowski in a two-person exhibition June 14 through August 3. Exhibiting a range of hand-woven textile paintings, deconstructed canvases, and embroidered work, the artists explore perception, form, and new perspectives in abstraction. The works often combine contradictory notions and processes that result in objects subverting their materiality by way of viewer participation. The opening reception is Friday June 14, 6:00 – 8:00 PM.
Samantha Bittman explores the ways in which weaving is a generative process, merging the image and support, to create paintings. By exploiting the limitations of the loom, the artist designs and executes weave drafts, or simple sets of numerically based instructions, resulting in pixelated materiality, topography, and pattern. In several works throughout the exhibition, she uses the woven pattern as a guide, which is copied directly onto itself with paint, making a painting that is the image of it’s own structural support. The warp and weft interlacements exist as a grid of binary information storage as well as a record of the time-based and labor-intensive process of hand weaving. This painstaking process of the artist’s own hand in making her work relates to the relationship a viewer may establish with the work. The slowness and careful attention with which they are made demands time for engagement.
In the gallery’s project space is Bittman’s Color Map, an embroidered abstraction of the RGB color cube. While the original RGB color cube contains smooth gradations and hundreds of colors, the embroidery is manually reduced to seven discrete colors using an invented logic, generating pixelated patterns and perceptually blending together at different vantage points.
Gabriel Pionkowski exploits the excess of presence, constructing his paintings through a series of absences. His paintings simultaneously fold and unfold into themselves in a multilayered dialog grappling with the history of painting, the object-ness of art, and the ground of perception. Each ready-made canvas surface is purposely and meticulously deconstructed, painted thread-by-thread, and reconstructed on a traditional hand-weaving loom. Pionkowski’s process of reinvesting and exerting the structure of the picture plane indicates the possibility of utilizing the entire canvas and its supporting systems as pictorial apparatuses. Some of the works poetically drape, while others physically collapse, oscillating in a precarious state between synthesis and dematerialization.
Samantha Bittman lives and works in Chicago. She completed her MFA at SAIC in 2010, and earned a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2004. She has exhibited recently at Southfirst Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, Flash Atolye, Izmir, Turkey, The Green Gallery East, Milwaukee, WI, David Castillio Gallery, Miami, FL, and in Chicago at threewalls, Western Exhibtions, and Zolla / Lieberman Gallery. She has been a participant in the Ox-bow and Skowhegan residency programs and will be an artist-in-residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts this fall. In 2012, she was a recipient of an Artadia Grant.
Gabriel Pionkowski resides in Madison, WI where he earned an MFA from University of Wisconsin in 2013. He will be a resident at Millay Colony for the Arts in Austerlitz, NY, and a Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA later this year. Recent exhibitions include Stretching Painting, curated by Veronica Roberts at Galerie Lelong, New York, NY, and the upcoming Wisconsin Triennial at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.
Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Saturday 12-6PM
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