A Timeless Elsewhere
September 9 – October 9, 2016
The Figures-Paysages [Figures – Landscapes] bring out clashes between distant times and places, a timeless elsewhere, always in motion, searching for worldly figures only found through dreams. Figures of subversion, they play a game of unexpected forms searched for in the open space.
Simone DeSousa Gallery is pleased to present A Timeless Elsewhere: New Work by Addie Langford.
In her newest body of work, Langford explores the experience and making of art as a question of structure and affect, of language and history. “If a memory or a sensation asserts itself it has no chance of a life unless there is a structure or language to sustain it. There is, however, no language – in art, in poetry, in life itself – that does not come with a history. Even our feelings, that we like to think of as “our own,” come with a history that is never entirely our own, and so enmeshed with others (the forms of ghostliness). For art-making this means that making has always to do with the language of the history of art so that even as we try to move forward we are necessarily negotiating the language and structure for expressing complex structures, layers, and movements of thought and affect, from body to memory that we have inherited.”
Langford’s art language of making draws upon traditions in Southern Appalachian craft from quilts to barn structures, weaving, and vessels where forms emerge and recede in glimpses of fragmentary histories. These social and object forms are in dialogue with major movements and figures of late modernist abstraction such as the French Supports/Surfaces, Simon Hantaï, and François Rouan (from whom her exhibition title is derived), as well as the Korean movement Dansaekhwa (especially Ha Chonghyun) and the American painter McArthur Binion. In these artists not the grid per se but the construction of the surface is key – as a lattice, for example – in terms of layering through which one glimpses moments of underneathness. Even where the paint on the surface seems thin and the mark-making spare (figures of ghostliness? emergence? time(s)?) there is still at work an architecture of absence actively moving with and through forms and layers. Not only time is layered, space, too, is layered, and so the work becomes something like an archeological imagination.
For Langford, then, this language of art leads to an art of attention which comes from slow craft, that is, the making/shaping of perception, and this patient looking correlates to the speed or endurance of daily life. The patience, or sometimes stamina, required in traversing thresholds or conflict is mirrored in the making of her work and the invitation in the work to look with patience. This is a practice that draws on her varied background in painting, ceramics, drawing, fabrics, and structural influences from architecture and craft. Langford’s work is marked by layering and uneven densities in relation to the support, and a hyper-exposure of materials to subtle natural forces (water, pressure, layering, erosion, thinning, thickening), not in order to destroy, but to form, warp or shape, and thereby her work seeks the subtlety of deformation and the experience of natural and imposed stresses, for which the work seen by the viewer is a kind of embodied archive.
Addie Langford lives and works in Detroit. She completed her MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art in ceramics after a BFA in architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2006-07 she was a Fulbright Fellow in Madrid, Spain, where she conducted research on tapestry in relation to contemporary collage. She has also been Head of the Art School at the Flint Institute of Arts and an Adjunct at the Penny Stamps School of Art + Design, University of Michigan.