TURN Gallery is pleased to announce our participation in The Surface of the East Coast, a group exhibition pairing American and French artists taking place across five New York galleries. Curated by Marie Maertens, the concept of the exhibition was born from dialogue between the French Supports/Surfaces movement of the 1960s and a new generation of New York based artists.

TURN will present – Feel Materiality – pairing Justin Adian with Claude Viallat, and Sarah Braman with André-Pierre Arnal. Bringing together two cultures and two generations of sculpture and paintings, a conversation emerges which echoes and feeds off each other, opening new formal issues and concepts of thought.

The Surface of the East Coast was first held in the summer of 2017 in Nice, France, the birthplace of the Supports/Surfaces movement where Maertens presented twenty-four artists at Le 109. Now a year later, the discussion continues in New York at the following galleries: TURN Gallery, Ceysson & Bénétière Gallery, Josée Bienvenu Gallery, Emmanuel Barbault Gallery, and OSMOS.

Curator Statement

Feel Materiality at Turn Gallery offers an unprecedented dialogue between the artists Justin Adian and Sarah Braman and artists André-Pierre Arnal and Claude Viallat.

For two decades the American Sarah Braman has been exploring a minimalist heritage that she sometimes pushes into what she calls a "maximalist" vein. In her wooden panels or Plexiglas constructions, arranged in geometric figures, she experiments with color, its reflections and its transmission to the viewer. When she works with found materials, in a reference to the vernacular and the object of the everyday, this feeling is always elaborated between a rigorous formalism and a freedom captured by its material and its support. The experience of color, and more generally of what constitutes the work of art, is an exercise to which André-Pierre Arnal submitted himself in 1961. While the post-war Paris scene is written in abstraction, it confronts large formats by testing how color reacts to the medium and creates a new surface. Evoking the question of perspective and narrative, Arnal questions the decorative status of painting to the extent "where color has an impact on the eye and the brain." The deconstruction of the ensemble made it possible for Arnal to return to "the root of pictorial language". Arnal approaches these subjects along with artist Claude Viallat.

Viallat’s work focuses on a unique model, a print that he broadcasts on a free canvas. When Viallat embarked on this adventure in 1969, he recognized the lessons learned from Jackson Pollock and Robert Rauschenberg. The artists of Action Painting opened Viallat to the freedom of the heritage of Henri Matisse or Paul Cézanne, which he mixed with the quasi-artisanal practice of the workshop. For Viallat, it was necessary not only to return to history, but also to understand "the very first acts of artists before starting to paint.” Justin Adian works in his studio in Brooklyn, immersing himself in composing the shape of his frame, before affixing his canvas and multiple layers of paint. He "tests" colors and effects, ranging from drippings and drips to his flatter and crisper finishes. Adian resonates the minimalism of his native Texas where he discovered artists Carl Andre, Donald Judd and John Chamberlain who added to Adian’s desire to explore an organic field. In all these visual artists, Adian works pictorially with the possibility of materials. Adian engages a dialogue with the spectator through his desire to offer an open space of projection, a receptacle in continual construction.

History of Supports/Surfaces

In the 1960’s this movement originally consisted of Claude Viallat, Louis Cane, Daniel Dezeuze, Noël Dolla, Marc Devade and Patrick Saytour, almost every one of them from the South of France. They interrogated the notions of deconstruction and reconstruction, examining the relationship a painting has to itself, as well as the space and context within which it functions. They critiqued painting as an object “to understand this envelope in which works of art invariably arrive” to borrow a phrase from Richard Wollheim. But despite its foundation in critique, the Supports/Surfaces group did not make anti-paintings. It was in the interest of expanding the definition of painting that the group was formed, not in destroying it.


Brooklyn Rail, July 11, 2018