Wire Frame: A virtual exhibition curated by Mika Tajima

Mika Tajima
Online at Hill Art Foundation
On view through 15 July 2021

The Foundation’s virtual exhibition series invites artists and curators to select 10–15 works from The Hill Collection that activate each other in new and unexpected ways. Without the usual obstacles of installation, these exhibitions give us the opportunity to see the collection in a new light.

These days we are distanced from material encounters with canvas and paint as we increasingly experience paintings mediated by computer screen or iPhone. With less opportunities to see a painting’s textures and gestures in person, along with its multiple removals from the actual object, abstract painting can be thought of in a different way—it encompasses art that has become untethered from the real world as a concrete referent. In this context, I am considering the word “abstraction” to go beyond non-representation to embody the conceptual aporia of painting today. It is where gesture and form are subsumed by the mise en abyme of mediated life: the painting object always embedded in the field of abstraction.

My selections intimate this construction of painting as an image rendered in a wireframe world. Think about a single painting able to be reframed and resized to conform to an image search page, a vertical scroll in a feed, or print-on-demand canvas. The works in this online exhibition heighten our awareness of the condition of painting and its transmediations. The grid motif and its organizing logic in these works have a self-reflexive presence with your encounter on screen.

These abstractions are made by set methodologies or instructions. Technical standards and rigid frameworks materialize as grids, linear patterns and digital moiré with infinite permutations. Some of the works operate between restrictive and flexible parameters which echo the qualities of the digital medium but also the imperative of contemporary life. Agnes Martin said,”[painting] is not what is seen. It is what is known forever in the mind.” Here, another platform for infinite availability.