'John Torreano: Dots, Gems, Stars, 1969 - 2023' extended through August 20th at The Drawing Room

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'John Torreano: Dots, Gems, Stars, 1969 - 2023' extended through August 20th at The Drawing Room
John Torreano, Dots, Gems, Stars 1968-2023. (left) Inside Gem, 1984, acrylic, pencil and charcoal on paper, 30 x 40 inches. (right) A Gold Tear for the Wall, 1996-2022, gold leaf on plywood, 22 x 11 x 9 1/2 inches.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Drawing Room in East Hampton has announced the extension of the exhibition, 'John Torreano: Dots, Gems, Stars, 1969 - 2023' , through August 20th. This is the gallery’s second solo presentation of the contemporary American artist who divides his time between studios in New York City and Sag Harbor.

The show traces salient through lines in John Torreano's imagery across various mediums and over a period of more than 50 years. Works on view include vibrant abstractions from sketchbooks, large canvases articulated with acrylic paint and multicolored gems, faceted wall sculptures and paintings on paper inspired by jewels and galaxies. From seminal preliminary studies created in the 1960s to recently completed 60 x 60 inch tour de force compositions, the selection offers a fresh perspective on the artist’s engagement with the aesthetic possibilities of painterly representation. Most of the works on view are being exhibited for the first time.
Torreano first established a strong connection to Long Island’s East End in the 1960s, following his move to New York City as an emerging artist with an MFA from Ohio State University. His 1969 residency at the Edward F. Albee Foundation in Montauk sparked an immediate affinity for Atlantic beaches, a feeling he has attributed to associations with his childhood explorations of the lakes and rivers of Michigan.

In a series of horizontal abstractions made shortly after his Montauk stay, broad swathes of color suggest the lingering influence of the region’s sweeping horizons and dramatic skies. Dotted over the brushwork, reflective pencil marks transcend any inference of landscape, while inevitably shimmering like stars. Nearby, two bold compositions feature hard-edged shapes softened by curvilinear contours, Torreano’s early experiments with the potential of a two- dimensional picture plane to convey bulging form.

Reflecting recently on his fascination with astronomical concepts, the artist noted, “Dots led me to the gems. The gems led me to the stars. The stars led me to galaxies and the Universe.”

In the adjacent gallery, paintings and works on paper are joined by a gold-leafed wall sculpture. All feature the gem- forms that have inspired and unified Torreano’s practice since the early 1970s.

“At the time,” he notes, “Canal Street was a post-war American version of a Moroccan bazaar… On one of my strolls, I saw a display of faceted glass gems. I was immediately taken by them. They were so reactive to my movements. There on Canal Street I was doing a little dance in response to their reflections. If I stayed still, I would see one set of reflections. If I moved slightly, I would see another completely different display.”

From that moment onward, the expansive scope of his drawing, painting, sculpture and glassmaking has transported viewers to cosmic, contemplative and perceptual realms.

John Torreano (b.1941, Flint, MI) has exhibited widely at public institutions and galleries including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Indianapolis Museum of Fine Arts, the Boulder Art Museum and the Parrish Art Museum. He received his BFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art (1963), and his MFA from Ohio State University (1967) and is the recipient of awards from the Nancy Graves Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council of the Arts. He also taught at New York University’s Steinhardt School and Abu Dhabi campuses and is the author of Drawing by Seeing (Abrams 2007).

The Drawing Room
'John Torreano: Dots, Gems, Stars, 1969 - 2023'
Extended through August 20th, 2023

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