Garth Greenan Gallery is pleased to announce Richard Van Buren: T Timer, an exhibition of sculptures at 545 West 20th Street. Opening Thursday, September 5, 2019, the exhibition is the artist’s fourth with the gallery. Juxtaposing Van Buren’s hard-edge floor sculptures of the 1960s and 1970s with his recent free-form works, the exhibition examines the artist’s career-long exploration of the relationship between the organic and the synthetic.
The exhibition will feature three floor sculptures, including T Timer (1967)—which has not been shown since the landmark museum exhibitions Primary Structures (1966, Jewish Museum, New York) and A Romantic Minimalism (1967, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia). T Timer, characteristic of Van Buren’s approach at the time, is analytical and restrained, yet sensuous and poetic. A translucent, milky resin finish over its tactile wooden frame evinces pinkish ambers from its surface. Van Buren, while influenced by the overarching minimalism of that era, never fully submitted to the sleek surfaces and unrelenting formalism that was typical of the movement. Instead, his early works reveal a deep interest in the delicate interplay of light and color.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Van Buren largely shifted his focus from geometric floor works to wall sculptures—a transition he partially attributed to his wife, the dancer Batya Zamir, who emphasized connection to space and architecture in her performances. In an early example, Beirut (1971), Van Buren fully embraced organic form and high-key color. The artist cast Beirut’s resin body in a trough formed by placing bulky objects—bottles, metal drums, and pieces of wood—beneath the corners of a mylar sheet. Using fiberglass, hardening agents, and other materials such as spackle and shaved glass, Van Buren altered the viscosity and opacity of the resin, tempering the aggressive pigments, and creating layers of color and texture that seem like the result of some perplexing biological process.
In his recent sculptures, Van Buren continues to experiment with materiality, light, and color. The increasingly exuberant plastic biomorphs are packed with materials as seemingly disparate as dry pigment, costume jewelry, fiberglass, wallpaper paste, glitter, torcus, tusk, abalone, and solute shells.
Born in Syracuse, New York, in 1937, Richard Van Buren studied painting and sculpture at San Francisco State University and the National University of Mexico. While still a student, Van Buren began exhibiting his work at San Francisco’s famed Dilexi Gallery, alongside artists as diverse as Franz Kline, H.C. Westermann, Ron Nagle, Ed Moses, and Robert Morris. In 1964, Van Buren relocated to New York. From 1967 to 1988, he taught in the Sculpture Department at the School of Visual Arts. In 1988, he began teaching at the Parsons School of Design, where he remained until September 2001. Van Buren lives and works in Perry, Maine.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Van Buren had solo exhibitions at a number of leading galleries, including Bykert Gallery (1967, 1968, 1969, New York), 112 Greene Street (1972, New York), Paula Cooper Gallery (1972, 1975, 1977, New York), and Texas Gallery (1974, 1976, Houston). During this period, his work also figured prominently in many landmark museum exhibitions, A Plastic Presence (1970, Milwaukee Art Center), and Works for New Spaces (1971, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis), among others. In 1977, Van Buren was the subject of a retrospective at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York.
The artist’s work is featured in the collections of major museums around the world, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery, Washington, DC; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
Garth Greenan Gallery is pleased to represent Richard Van Buren.
Richard Van Buren: T Timer will be on view at Garth Greenan Gallery, 545 West 20th Street (between Tenth and Eleventh avenues), through Saturday, October 12, 2019. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information, please contact Garth Greenan at (212) 929-1351, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.