James Cohen's Space matters: Nahum Tevet, Richard Long, Alan Saret

Sculpture: Works by Nahum Tevet, Richard Long, Alan Saret
Installation view
James Cohen, New York, 2017
Photo: Phoebe d'Heurle
Courtesy of the artist and James Cohen, New York

On view now until July 28th, James Cohen presents an exhibition of sculptures, drawings and paintings by artists, Nahum Tevet, Richard Long and Alan Saret at the gallery's Lower Eastside location.  The title Sculpture emphasizes the main focus of this exhibition that concentrates on the 3-D works and features how physicality and placement define space. Arranged in a sparse fashion, each work's integration with the interior architectural is different and unique in their own way.


Sculpture: Works by Nahum Tevet, Richard Long, Alan Saret
Installation view
James Cohen, New York, 2017
Photo: Phoebe d'Heurle
Courtesy of the artist and James Cohen, New York

Nahum Tevet
Double Mirror (BD), 2015
Acrylic and industrial paint on wood, veneer, metallic mirror
19 5/8 x 16 1/2 x 13 3/8 in.
50 x 42 x 30 cm
Courtesy of the artist and James Cohen, New York

Born and educated in Israel, Nahum Tevet became interested in the European and American Minimalist and Conceptual ideas in the 1970s.
The new works in this exhibition address the issue that concerned the artist for decades- "how does the physical existence of something occupies a space in the real world?"  Mounted to the wall, Double Mirror (BD) is a geometric structure made of industrial wood on a reflective metallic mirror.  This work looks somewhat like a furniture piece and also somewhat like an architectural model.  There are more than one way to approach the work. From the side, it looks to be defying gravity because the pieces on the metal mirror extends out as long as the height of the rectangular mirror it is on (to the point that makes one want to re-orient it so it could be placed on the floor to avoid precariousness). Approaching front on, this piece feels like a line drawing of the 60s Minimalist style with straight lines that form perfect shapes with correspondent sides.  Tevet's investigation of form and space is not a solo artistic experimentation, he also provides the viewer with the opportunity to re-examine one's physical existence in a given space.  The metal mirror reflects back a clear image of the person facing it, and thus the person becomes integrated with the sculpture inside the gallery's architecture.


Alan Saret
Through Dancer, 1984-90
Phospher bronze
40 x 48 x 80 in
101.6 x 121.9 x 203.2 cm
Courtesy of the artist and James Cohen, New York

Alan Saret's wire sculptures are like drawings in 3-D.  From afar they almost look like intertwined and knotted strings, so fine as to take on the appearance like a ball of hair or tumble weed.  In the 60s, the American artist worked as an engineer for Port Authority and drew plans for major infrastructure projects.  In the 70s, he traveled to India and the trip inspired him to explore the metaphysic and spiritual aspects of art.  The selection of pieces in this exhibition reflect the artist's fascination in systematic planning hidden in plain sight. Among the chaos of these clusters, they show different methods of tying and molding. The formations activate the space using both the positive space and the negative space. Saret's work invites one to meditate on its structure as well as its relation to the physical surrounding.

Sculpture: Works by Nahum Tevet, Richard Long, Alan Saret
Installation view
James Cohen, New York, 2017
Photo: Phoebe d'Heurle
Courtesy of the artist and James Cohen, New York

In contrast to the weightlessness of Saret's work, Richard Long's installation in the end gallery looks earthy and heavy.  Made of slate, these sheets of rock with rough edges form a perfect circle.  It sections off a portion of the floor at the same time leaving it open.  Born in Bristol, the artist has been producing large scale installations in open natural landscapes as well as inside museums and galleries.  Long focuses on the idea of round-walks that he first introduced in the 60s, and uses the materials taken from surfaces that he had once walked on.  Red Ring, 2017 represents time and space, and the experience one has with distance and travel.  This work welcomes the viewer to walk around and imagine the feeling of being in a natural land.

The current exhibition also includes drawings and paintings by Alan Saret and Richard Long.  I have chosen to focus on the sculptures because they force one to actively engage with the architecture. They illustrate the nature of sculpture that involves physical experience in time and space.

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