Thursday 6 – Sunday 9 March 2014

Vane presents work by Mark Joshua Epstein at VOLTA NY art fair, New York, USA, Thursday 6 – Sunday 9 March 2014.

Mark Joshua Epstein’s paintings attempt to resist depiction. However, the term abstraction is a kind of ham-fisted translation: for him, interactions manifest in the work as awkward spatial relationships, uncomfortable colour pairings, and dissonant patterns. Early in the history of European modernist abstraction, non­objective painting was derided as little more than decorative. Flipping this criticism on its head, Epstein uses decorative elements as a generative point of departure. By welcoming the visual information deployed in typically domestic objects such as clothing, wallpaper, and textiles into his work, he purposefully confronts historical criticisms of abstraction.

In Epstein’s recent work he has engaged with the intricate monochromatic patterns printed on the interiors of envelopes sent from banks, employers and utility companies. Seemingly decorative, these patterns in fact serve as screens designed to obscure that which they envelop. The rhythm and repetition of such utilitarian patterning is echoed in traditional textiles from Turkey and Central Asia, where he recently travelled to undertake research that has informed some of his latest work.

Through juxtaposing such patterns in pictorial space, Epstein invites viewers to question conceptual relationships between different visual traditions that employ pattern as both deception and disguise. The process of combining the two types of patterns generates responses from Epstein’s own painterly vocabulary, which become, like the information in envelopes and the draped body, by turns entangled, obscured, and revealed. While the resulting system of overlapping scrims seemingly allows access to his decision-making, the painting process is in reality more complex. Patterns deposited early in a painting’s life are later taken up again, obfuscating the linear progression of layers and preserving a state of flux in which the threads of pattern oscillate between proximity and distance.

Opening Times

Thursday 6 March Preview: 6-9pm
Friday 7 March 10am-8pm
Saturday 8 March 10am-8pm
Sunday 9 March 10am-5pm

Mercer Street
New York
NY 10012