Robert Mangold, a seminal figure in contemporary art since he first began exhibiting in the 1960’s, continues to be one of the leading proponents and practitioner’s of Minimalism. Shape, color, surface, and line are the concerns of Mangold’s art. Far from being reductive, Mangold’s self-imposed constraints combine to create what Roberta Smith has called beautiful and imminently beatific artworks, which “play drawn line against colored shape in ways that are positively Siennese.”
Mangold’s objective in his work has always been to atain a kind of gestalt achieved through the opposition and balance of a works’ components. Elliptical and rectilinear forms, simple line drawings, push and hold the boundaries of quadrilaterals and semi-circles of graphite and luminous color, which show the rough texture of the surface of the handmade watercolor paper on which they are drawn.
This exhibition should in fact give gallery-goers special insight into Mangold’s working process. At its height of influence, Minimalist doctrine decried the use of drawing in painting, and Mangold went against the grain. Mangold’s paintings not only include drawing as a basic element, they are born of it. On view will be actual pagges from Mangold’s sketchbooks, small drawings, and large drawings with color. The correspondences between the different stages are remarkable. The trace of a fold in the paper which remains visible in the smaller works, becomes the line created by adjoining sheets of paper in the larger drawings, and wil eventually be the juncture between two panels in his paintings.