The Hudson River Museum Presents Three Exhibitions Exploring Abstraction
Monumental Abstract Drawings by Christine Hiebert, Video Installation by Ellen Kozak and Scott D. Miller, and Prints by Donald Judd
June 1–September 9, 2018
The Hudson River Museum announces its summer exhibitions, with works by contemporary artists who explore the landscape and the river to create evocative works of art that are keenly attuned to the environment around them. In addition, a selection of prints from the permanent collection by Minimalist artist Donald Judd will further explore the iterative process and creative possibilities of abstraction. The Museum will also feature a rotation of works in blown glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany, drawn from the permanent collection. The exhibitions will be on view from June 1 – September 9, 2018 at the Hudson River Museum.
Force Field: Drawings by Christine Hiebert
Christine Hiebert, (American, born Switzerland, 1960) a Brooklyn-based artist, investigates the nature and language of line and how different types of marks relate to one another and energize a blank field. Over the past three decades she has embraced drawing as central to her artistic journey, whether it be with charcoal, graphite, and ink, or even tape and dirt. She is known for her gestural works on paper, as well as her site-specific blue-tape drawings in large architectural spaces. She travels to remote natural environments, lately exploring desert and range topographies of the American West, where, she says, “the earth’s gestures are most visible.”
For Hiebert, drawing starts with the problem of the line, how to form it and how to follow it. The gesture of a line has an inherent energy and direction, played out on a sheet of paper. There is a tension between her marks and areas left blank, and the white voids begin to suggest light. “I send out a line to negotiate the blank field of the paper, the unknown,” says Hiebert. “I try to find my place there, to engage with space in a way that is both freeing and creates a sense of belonging.”
More than a dozen works on paper will be on view in the Museum’s two-level atrium gallery, including 8-foot, scroll-like works accompanied by smaller related drawings. The sense of space and light the artist creates in these drawings conveys the vastness and unpredictable energy of nature. Hiebert recalls: “I had some very early years of painting in woods and fields with a portable box easel. I would soon start a very different path in my work that was not related to observation. But the practice did tell me that I like to stand in an open field for a very long time, that I like to explore and to ‘settle’ in the outdoors, that the weather is energizing, and that there is a way of getting to the truth of some problem in my mind when surrounded by the tangible truths of the natural world.”
Laura Vookles, curator of the exhibition and Chair of the Hudson River Museum’s Curatorial Department, adds: “I am interested in all the ways artists express a connection to nature, from realistic depictions to the most abstract. The linear play in Hiebert’s work evokes energy and movement in the world around us.”
The artist’s work has been featured in exhibitions at The Drawing Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Morgan Library and Museum, and The Museum of Modern Art. Her drawings are held in the collections of The Fogg Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, The Menil Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Ellen Kozak and Scott D. Miller: riverthatflowsbothways
riverthatflowsbothways, a video installation by artist Ellen Kozak (American, born 1955) and composer Scott D. Miller (American, born 1956), takes its name from the translation of the Lenape word for the Hudson River. The artist states, “I use the surface of the river as a giant watery lens that assimilates reflection, color, and pattern. riverthatflowsbothways creates a contemplative space that lengthens one’s sense of time and evokes feelings of wonderment and comfort but also conjures presentiments of destabilizing undercurrents.” Kozak asserts the primacy of the river as a site of aesthetic and environmental concerns.
This unique collaboration weds three video channels with a single audio channel using non-synchronous loops that present viewers with ever-changing compositional combinations. Miller’s string-ensemble score features ambiguous hymn-like chords, recalling Shape-Note singing and the harmonic adventures of Charles Ives. While Miller draws upon the history of American music, Kozak’s video connects to both contemporary and historical traditions focused on perception in the visual arts.
Kozak draws from her ongoing experience as a painter as well as from her background in the early formative years of video. Without offering views or realistic representations, Kozak’s piece is an immersive meditation on the movement and luminosity of the river. Working beside the Hudson River, Kozak roots her art in the use of the river’s surface as, in her words, “a lens that collects activity from the sky above: the movements of clouds, fog, foliage, planes in flight; and on the Hudson, barges transporting crude oil.” Intimately observed abstract images and sound coalesce within the gradually changing images, bringing viewers in contact with the river as a living organism.
“Kozak’s diurnal commitment to riverine views, whether in painting, collage, or, as here, video, reminds all of us of the transcendent potential in everyday phenomena,” states Assistant Curator Ted Barrow. “Especially here, at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers where we overlook the Hudson River, her radiant work underscores the central place of nature in our lives.”
Since 1994, Kozak’s artist studio has been on the east bank of the Hudson River, providing a view of the river in all seasons. She works directly on the banks of the river, sometimes even in the river, where her visual ideas are guided by direct observation. Her work has been exhibited at museums and galleries throughout the tri-state area, including the Katonah Museum of Art; the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art in New Paltz, NY; The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY; the Odetta Gallery in Brooklyn, NY; and the Katharina Rich Perlow Gallery in New York City. Collections in which her works are found include The Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, The New York Public Library, and Yale University Sterling Memorial Library.
Scott D. Miller is a New York City-based composer and Artistic Director of the Tilted Head Ensemble, which he founded in 2016. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, Miller also earned graduate degrees at Columbia University and at Princeton University, where he studied with Milton Babbitt. Miller’s works have been performed at La MaMa, Symphony Space, Roulette, CBGB, P.S. 122, Lincoln Center Library, The DiMenna Center, and many other venues. His music has been premiered by Miranda Cuckson, Blair McMillen, Ryan Muncy, Eric Huebner, and other notable performers.
Sponsored in part by Sound Associates, Inc.
Donald Judd: Variations on a Theme
Though he resisted the title, Donald Judd (American, 1928–1994) was a towering figure in the Minimal art movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He created three-dimensional works in series, which engage the space around them.
Variations on a Theme showcases Untitled, 1977–78, a series of 16 etchings by Judd from the Museum’s permanent collection. Consistent with his three-dimensional constructions, called “Specific Objects,” these prints incorporate clean, precise geometric forms with slight variations. Important for Judd, they are not made by the hand of the artist. Like many of his Pop Art and Minimalist contemporaries, he had his sculptures factory produced and his father Roy, who was trained as a printmaker, produced many of the artist’s prints.
This series demonstrates the variety possible under certain scrupulous parameters. Different angles and varied relationships between lines change our perceptual understanding of each print. Judd wanted his art to be self-evident—what you see is what you see. Refusing to align the diagonal angles of these prints, for example, he highlights specific qualities of the medium itself: graphic, two-dimensional, and not illusionistic. According to Judd, “A work needs only to be interesting.”
Though this exhibition focuses solely on his prints, Judd extended his scope from artwork to furniture and architecture. One of the first artists to convert a former industrial loft into a living and work space in SoHo, Judd later purchased an abandoned army barracks in Marfa, Texas as a space to work outdoors and to contend with the desert landscape itself. These goals were not just aesthetic, but also deeply rooted in environmental concerns. Like reusing industrial space and materials in the production of his art, his Marfa project was twinned with the burgeoning environmental preservation movement of the 1970s.
The exhibitions are organized by the Hudson River Museum.
The exhibitions are featured on the HRM website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter via the hashtags #ChristineHiebert #EllenKozak #DonaldJudd #HRMAbstraction
Sunday Scholars: The Abstraction of Music
Sunday, June 10, 2pm
What do abstract art and contemporary music have in common? Artists have often attempted to translate musical rhythms and structures into their work, while composers often use visual images in their music. John Yannelli, Director, Program in Music and Music Technology at Sarah Lawrence College, will discuss the mutual influences between music and visual art throughout history.
Arts in the Afternoon: Christine Hiebert
Wednesday, June 13, 1:30pm
Featured artist Christine Hiebert shares the genesis of her drawing practice as seen in her abstract responses to architectural settings and natural spaces. Following this lecture, continue the conversation with Hiebert and Chair of the Curatorial Department Laura Vookles on a tour of the exhibition.
Arts in the Afternoon: riverthatflowsbothways
Wednesday, July 11, 1:30pm
Featured artist Ellen Kozak discusses the motivations and mediums that drive and shape her vision and practice, inspired by the ephemeral play of light, color, and movement observed on bodies of water. Following this lecture, continue the conversation with Kozak and Assistant Curator Ted Barrow in front of the installation.
Sunday Scholars: The Visual Language of Dance
Sunday, July 15, 2pm
Art historian Susan Rosenberg, author of Trisha Brown: Choreography as Visual Art, discusses movement, gesture, and line in the languages of modern dance and visual art.
Sunday Scholars: Appreciating Abstraction in Design
Sunday, July 29, 2pm
Designer, author, and educator Timothy Samara helps open avenues for appreciating and interpreting non-pictorial imagery in the context of three exhibitions: Force Field: Drawings by Christine Hiebert; Donald Judd: Variations on a Theme; and Ellen Kozak and Scott D. Miller: riverthatflowsbothways. Samara is an instructor at the School of Visual Arts, Parsons School of Design, Purchase College, New York University, The University of the Arts, and Fashion Institute of Technology. He is a frequent lecturer and contributor to design publications both in the U.S. and abroad.
Talk & Tour with Ellen Kozak
Saturday, June 2, 2pm
Experience riverthatflowsbothways, a four-channel video and audio installation inspired by the Hudson River with artist Ellen Kozak, who unpacks the layers of meaning with visitors.
Family Tour—Father’s Day Formations
Sunday, June 17, 1:30 & 2:30pm
Explore the relationship between featured artist Donald Judd and his father, Roy Judd, on a special interactive Father’s Day tour of the current exhibition, Donald Judd: Variations on a Theme. Participants will recreate the works on view and create their own geometric shapes using art straws.
Family Tour—A Closer Look at Abstraction
Saturday, July 14, 1:30 & 2:30pm
Explore the work of Christine Hiebert on an interactive family tour that includes movement, fun conversation and creative, hands-on gallery activities.
Talk & Tour with LeAnn Yannelli
Saturday, July 21, 2pm
Join choreographer, dancer, and teacher LeAnn Yannelli on a tour through the works of Christine Hiebert, Ellen Kozak and Scott D. Miller, and Donald Judd as she demonstrates the integral connection between gestural and minimalist abstraction and dance.
Family Tour—Ellen Kozak & Nature
Saturday, August 4, 1:30 & 2:30pm
Become one with nature and become immersed in the sounds and images of Ellen Kozak and Scott D. Miller’s riverthatflowsbothways.
Talk & Tour with John Yannelli
Saturday, August 25, 2pm
Tour the abstractions of Christine Hiebert, Ellen Kozak and Scott D. Miller, and Donald Judd with John Yannelli, educator and composer of both traditional and experimental music, as he connects their use of line, shape, and color to the essence of contemporary music. Yanelli is Director, Program in Music and Music Technology at Sarah Lawrence College.
Drop In & Draw
Join local artists for informal sketching in the Museum galleries. Each session focuses on a different medium, and draws inspiration from the abstract expressions on view in current exhibitions. Suitable for ages 8–adult, all levels of expertise; materials will be provided.
Emily Stedman—Watercolor Pencil
Sunday, June 3, 2–4pm
Lee Romero—Pen & Ink
Sunday, July 1, 2–4pm
Leonardo De La Cruz—Charcoal
Saturday, August 18, 2–4pm
Make a Splash!
Saturdays, June 9; July 14; August 4
Sundays, June 17; July 1; August 19; September 9
Play with movement and create an abstract expressionist drip painting in the style of Jackson Pollock using various paint brushes and a large canvas.
Monotype Printing Without a Press
Saturday, June 9, 2–4pm
Create a one-of-a-kind print in this workshop led by artist Kathleen Gallagher and inspired by the work on view in Force Field: Drawings by Christine Hiebert. Participants will sketch and print a monotype—an image drawn on an ink-coated surface, then transferred onto paper. Recommended for ages 10+
Relief Printmaking Without a Printing Press
Saturday, June 16, 2–4pm
Create your own print in this workshop led by artist Kathleen Gallagher and inspired by the work on view in Donald Judd: Variations on a Theme. Participants will sketch their drawing onto a block, to be inked and transferred onto paper to produce multiple impressions of the same image. Recommended for ages 14+
Shodo: A Class in Japanese Calligraphy for Beginners
Saturday, July 14, 2–4pm
Megumi Barringer leads a workshop on Shodo, an art form that uses Chinese characters (kanji) and Japanese hiragana drawn with a brush and charcoal ink on paper, wood plaques, and fabric. Its unique form of expression is suggested by the gestural calligraphy on scroll-like wall renderings in Force Field: Drawings by Christine Hiebert. Limited to 20 participants. Recommended for ages 7+. $5 materials fee.
Watercolor Workshop with Ellen Hopkins Fountain
Saturday, June 30, 2–4pm
Capture the abstraction of water, air, and light at play on the Hudson River in this en plein air watercolor workshop led by artist Ellen Hopkins Fountain. Some painting experience required. Tickets: $15 Adult, $10 Seniors/Students, $8 Youth; Members $5.
Summer Teaching Artist-in-Residence
Melanie Aguirre, Summer 2018 Teaching Artist-in-Residence, has choreographed a series of Hip Hop dance experiences that align the artwork of the abstract artists on view—Christine Hiebert, Donald Judd, and Ellen Kozak and Scott D. Miller with gestural depictions of the elements—earth, water, wind, and fire.
Abstract Elements: Earth
Saturday, June 23, 1:30–2:30pm—Explore the element “earth” in an interactive dance workshop.
Sunday, June 24, 1:30–3pm—Explore the element “earth” with a Breaking performance with Edwin “Indio” Garcia.
Abstract Elements: Air
Saturday, July 21, 1:30–2:30pm—Explore the element “air” in an interactive dance workshop.
Sunday, July 22, 1:30–3pm—Explore the element “air” with a Litefeet performance by Elijah “E Solo” Soto.
Abstract Elements: Water
Saturday, August 11, 1:30–2:30pm—Explore the element “water” in an interactive dance workshop.
Sunday, August 12, 1:30–3pm—Explore the element “water” with a Flexing performance with Joshua “Sage” Morales.
Abstract Elements: Fire
Saturday, September 1, 1:30–2:30pm—Explore the element “fire” in an interactive dance workshop.
Sunday, September 2, 1:30–3pm—Explore the element “fire” in an interactive performance around a “fire circle.”