ZONE: CONTEMPORARY ART begins 2009 with “Jack Sal: Re/Vision,” a long overdue exhibition for a multi-faceted artist. His work appears in the many permanent collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography in New York City, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Museum Moderner Kunst in Vienna. He is a respected figure in Europe, where he has mounted a series of remarkable site-specific installations. He has collaborated with William Wegman and Sol Lewitt and exhibited along side Sigmar Polke and Nan Goldin. But Sal’s work remains largely unfamiliar to the American public.
ZONE is presenting a cross section of Sal’s work, including a chapel-like space of large-scale paintings, using gesso and silk surgical tape, created specifically for this installation. Minimalist yet profoundly humanistic, his work has a handmade look, which carries over into a group of smaller paintings and works on paper.
Sal is intensely aware of the temporal dimension of his work, in general, and this exhibition, in particular. He sees this new year as a “moment when the demarcation of change is upon mankind….” and it is the engagement of culture with such conditions that make up the conceptual language of the works created for Re/Vision. These art works refer to their own making and ultimately refer to the tabula rasa of this very important moment. Temperamentally, he has much in common with Terry Riley, the composer of seminal works of musical minimalism such as the serenely joyous “In C”. Like Riley, an unassuming figure who never crossed over into mainstream success, Sal works with pared-down idioms, avoiding epic emotions and climaxes, and finding lyrical grace in repetition on an intimate scale. In “Minor/Key” Sal makes an oblique musical reference, isolating an ebony piano key and enshrining it in a box.
While he sees marking as a basic artistic act, Sal also incorporates the natural processes inherent in some of his materials. A celebrated photographer, he uses photo-printing paper to capture light and has revived the cliché-verre technique used by nineteenth-century pioneers in the medium. He slices lead plates and allows them to weather naturally: the veining coalesces into landscape-like patterns. These small, square panels provide a dark counterpoint to the predominantly white works in the exhibition. Using a relatively simple palette, Sal explores a wide range of materials and ideas, offering a fresh vision of the art experience
JACK SAL: Re/Vision
January 22 – February 28, 2009
6-8pm, Thursday January 22