‘Ice’ was inspired, according to guest contributor Sheri Pasquarella, by the sensations of Gstaad in the winter time: the blindingly-bright fields of snow, the slick mirrors of black ice and frozen puddles, the dazzling candy-hued spectrum of sunrise and sunset, the shimmering glow of the mountains at magic hour. The sights and feelings of these recalled the work of Pruitt and Hein and vice versa. Though this show deals with surface, it is not superficial. Indeed, Pruitt and Hein are individually heir apparent to important historical moments and artists of the 20th century concerning texture, surface, form and the sublime.
Hein is a post-minimalist for our time. His work makes overt reference to the great mid-century artists like Penone, Lee Ufan, Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein and others who pioneered the global birth of Minimalism and Conceptualism from the late 1950s through the 70s. This exhibition will include one of the artist’s acclaimed labyrinths indoor or outdoor sculpture works that echo the forms of both English gardens and the works of Richard Serra. In Hein’s iteration, a mirrored surface plays up the distortion of space between the viewer and the object, and heightens our response to the surrounding environment. Also on view will be Hein’s popular text boxes: neon illuminations that deploy phrases from yogic and other Eastern philosophy. These connect with Hein’s own spiritual practice, and invite the viewer into contemplation or meditation. Hein’s work further continues the notions of ’the sublime’ in the history of art: the depiction of light as having spiritual, spatial, and formal implications. The use materials like mirror and neon in the works shown here evoke this timeless, ongoing concept.
Pruitt, on the other hand, is working in the Post-Pop traditions of the digital age. He is known for his embrace of commercial or found images and aesthetics, particularly as they touch his own life; it’s hard not to see the quintessentially American culture at the heart of his work. Pruitt’s approach also incorporates elements or nods to minimalism, which quickly or deftly veer off course as into spaces of play, humor, or surprise. ‘Untitled (Woman with an Ermine)’ is a great example of the role of art history, irreverence and minimalism in Pruitt’s work. The painting is a simple gradient spectrum of earth tones like a dark sunset, on top of which is a clumsily-rendered face eyes and a mouth as if drawn hastily by a computer mouse from an outdated computer rendering app. In fact, the color palette of the work is derived from DaVinci’s famed ‘Woman with an Ermine,’ and Pruitt’s intervention evokes ideas about art and representation in the digital age.