Jan 16th 2015

Born in 1901, Dehner studied at the Art Student’s League with Kimon Nicolaides and Jan Matulka. Their teachings instilled in Dehner an appreciation for Constructivist art and other European avant garde aesthetics.

Alongside her contemporaries in the New York School, Dehner brought gesture and dynamism to concrete forms in art. The artist’s own experience with dance and improvisation led to the development of sculpture evocative of ethereal architectural space. Dehner’s fluidity between two and three dimensions exposed the limits of previously held beliefs of what was possible in drawing and sculpture.

The work in Compositions and Constructions reveals this interplay. Her wood sculptures from the 1970s emulate the clean lines of her works on paper through their planar rendering of playful cityscapes. Conversely, her drawings aspire to fill three-dimensional sculptural space. Here, forms and lines float across white fields with fleeting references to landscape and architecture.

Dehner used drawing as a means to examine sculptural forms, and sculpture to examine drawing. Though she rarely made sketches for (or of) her sculptures, the two threads of her practice have a distinct resonance as she integrated and oscillated between the two mediums.

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