It is difficult to describe Fred Sandback’s artworks as they contain an energy that is generated from the simplest of means and most minimal of gestures to the most maximal effects. Sandback’s work is often referenced within the lexicon of Minimal Art, which was developed in the 1960s and known for its economy of means and geometric forms, but he resisted easy associations with Minimalism, suggesting rather that “maximal art” better describes his intended experience.
Sandback leaves the object behind to draw in space. Using ordinary store bought materials in a seemingly minimal manner, he redefines our experience of space. Most commonly, he uses acrylic yarn to draw lines that articulate space, delineating volume in otherwise empty rooms, over ostensibly bare walls from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. He exposes what is already there seemingly giving definition to air.
“I can only see my sculptures as a metaphor for the return of responsibility and power to the perceptions of each individual.” This reflection by Sandback on his environmental sculptures gives weight to the viewer’s experiences over his process as an artist. Sandback’s use of the words ‘responsibility’ and ‘power’ shifts the influence away from himself in a manner that is embodied in his artworks.
His exhibition for Plug In is a sampling of this sculptural practice that includes both vertical and horizontal pieces that stretch from floor to ceiling, across walls, and in straight and diagonal lines. The artist’s use of colour adds an emotional vibrancy as line, shape, and energy reveal themselves gradually within the viewer’s perceptional encounter.
Fred Sandback (1943-2003) exhibited internationally from 1968 when his first solo shows were held at Galerie Konrad Fischer, Düsseldorf, and Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munich, while the artist was still a graduate student pursuing his MFA at the Yale School of Art and Architecture. The Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz, organized an extensive survey in 2005, which traveled to the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, and the Neue Galerie am Joanneum, Graz, in 2006. In 2011, his work was featured in a solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and the same year the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, dedicated its entire building to a solo exhibition. In 2014, the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland hosted a major retrospective of his drawings that subsequently traveled to the Josef Albers Museum, Bottrop and Museum Wiesbaden, Germany. The Pulitzer Art Foundation, St. Louis, mounted an exhibition from May to September 2015. There are numerous publications on his work, the most recent in 2016 documenting Fred Sandback: Light, Space, Facts at The Glenstone Foundation, Potomac, Md. Aspects: Fred Sandback’s Sculptures by Edward A. Vazquez will be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2017. Sandback’s sculpture is represented in numerous museum collections internationally and is on permanent view at Dia:Beacon, New York. His estate is represented by David Zwirner, New York/London and a complete exhibition history and bibliography is available online at www.fredsandbackarchive.org.
Saturday, January 21 | 3:00pm: Exhibition Tour by Amavong Panya
Sunday, February 26 | 11:00am: Cat’s Cradle – a children’s workshop lead by Hannah Doucet
Friday March 24 | 7:00pm: Respondent Series: Talk by Edward A. Vazquez
This exhibition and related programs are generously sponsored by Michael Nesbitt