Robert Mallary & Ryan Foerster
March 25 - May 6, 2018
in collaboration with Mitchell Algus Gallery
Although they belong to widely separated generations, Robert Mallary (1917- 1997) and Ryan Foerster (b. 1983) have a lot in common. They're both cubist improvisers who work with raw materials to create objects that are emphatically physical, formally dynamic and poetically evocative.
Displayed in the center of the gallery on a long white pedestal, Mallary's tabletop-size sculptures consist of rusted plates and rods of varying dimensions welded into compositions that sometimes seem to verge on chaos and other times suggest totemic and architectural associations. Channeling the mythic ethos of Abstract Expressionism, they seem at once primordial and futuristic.
Foerster is more of a latter-day Rauschenberg. For his two-dimensional, multi-media works, he rolls blue ink over scraps of photography arranged on commercial, aluminum printing plates incised with loosely gridded lines. The bright lines stand out from the deep cyan blue and outline the ink-obscured photographic elements; you might think of Miles Davis's trumpet in "Kind of Blue."
In the gallery, a lively conversation ensues between Mallary's works on their pedestal and Foerster's which hang at regular intervals on the walls. They trade ideas about form and process, fragmentation and unification and abstraction at the outer limits of imagination.
Best known for junk assemblage done in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Robert Mallary (1917-1997) was a pioneering artist whose diverse and expansive work embraced a wide range of formal, political, technological and material concerns. Mallary's art was first shown in New York in 1959 at Dorothy C. Miller's Sixteen Americans exhibition at Museum of Modern Art – a legendary exhibition that introduced Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Ellsworth Kelly and Frank Stella, among others. Mallary was also central to MoMA’s 1961 Art of Assemblage exhibition, documenting the rise of a Neo-Dada-aligned reaction to abstract expressionism that employed found materials and explicit cultural references. The artist showed in New York with the Alan Stone Gallery, but stopped exhibiting in commercial galleries in the mid-1960s after taking a university teaching position and beginning to focus on computer art.
Ryan Foerster was born 1983, Newmarket, Canada. Lives Brooklyn, NY. Previous solo shows include "Underwrought An De Re" Abrons Art Center, NY 2016, "Raccoon Trap" the National Exemplar 2015, Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 2014, CLEARING. New York 2014 and Martos Gallery 2012. Group shows include "The Tyranny of White Teeth" Museum of Fine Arts, Split, Croatia, "The Sun Placed in the Abyss" Columbus Museum of Art , Columbus, Ohio, "Second Chances" Aspen Art Museum,"Part Picture" Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and "Millennium Magazines", Museum of Modern Art Library, New York. He has organized exhibitions including "Silvianna Goldsmith" White Columns, New York and "LOCUM" ribordy contemporary, Geneva. He was the recipient of the Artadia/NADA award in 2013. Foerster is the founder of the press RATSTAR.