Three exhibitions among the fine art galleries of Cork Street in Mayfair, London; three different artists or groups of artists; three contrasting use of deconstructed and reconstructed geometry.
The British Artist Mark Vaux’s aptly-named exhibition “New Ovals” at the Bernard Jacobson Gallery has a number of his recent works focused on large ovoid paintings. Vaux determines the dimensions of the ovals using computer-generated numbers and then breaks up the oval shape with a variety of different colours to create trapezoidal and part-circular shapes. The pictures can be rotated to be hung vertically, horizontally or even, one assumes, diagonally to suite their location.
Vaux’s work could be seen to have some synergy, albeit simplified, to the works on display at another exhibition “Russian Revolution in Art, Russian Avant-Garde: 1910-1932” at the adjacent St Petersburg Gallery in Cork Street where “in selecting artworks for the show, the curators focused on one of the most important artistic polarities of the Modernist period: figurative versus non-figurative art. A wave of artistic movements and trends had originally brought together a large number of artists, all proclaiming the independence of art from the objective world. Each of these artists continued to follow their own paths to abstraction and non-figurativeness, thereby creating new plastic, colour and rhythmic compositions.” This is a exhibition that is well worth visiting in its own right as it includes works on paper, sculptures and porcelain by a wide range of artists including Wassily Kandinsky, Mikhail Larionov, Ivan Kliun, Ilya Chashnik, David Yakerson and Lubov Popova. These revolutionary artists constructed and deconstructed geometries in a way which must have been innovative and exciting at the time.
The third exhibition is “Black and White”, taken as a theme in Joseph Alber’s work, although perversely there is one room of his better-known coloured works, at the Waddington Custot Gallery in conjunction with the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. This exhibition explores black and white geometric forms in his work, with many of them having architectural links such as the series “Interiors” and “Steps”. This exhibition demonstrates Albers’ virtuosity in using line and geometry with just two colours, in a variety of materials including sandblasted glass. In timescale they come after the Russian artists, but it is interesting to compare the synergies between them. Alberts would have known of their work from the time of his early career in Germany, before he left for the US. This is a fine exhibition of work in the middle of his career and towards the end when it becomes simpler and more rectangular, with shades of grey.