Magazine article Artforum International

Robert Mangold

Magazine article Artforum International

Robert Mangold

Article excerpt

PACE GALLERY

For this commanding exhibition, Robert Marigold presented a group of ten paintings (accompanied by twelve drawings) executed between 2011 and 2014. Characterized, most saliently, by the wide holes cut into their centers, the spare, donut-shaped canvases explicitly recall the artist's "Ring Paintings," 2011, and "Frame Paintings," 1983-85, and find him continuing the exploration of the fundamental elements of com-position--of line, shape, and color--that he undertook in those series.

The works are imposing; the largest, Angled Ring 1,2011, has dimensions exceeding eight by eight feet. Perhaps as a result of this scale, they read as three-dimensional containers of space, almost like sculptures; the breached central portions welcome the viewer's gaze and lead it into the liminal space of the caesura, and then into absence. Yet this emphasis on materiality, on the play of the presence and absence of raw mass, is undermined by a simultaneous attention to the pictorial. Mangold has drawn on the canvases in graphite and black pencil, adding spirals, overlapping circles, and--most important--horizontal and diagonal lines. The last of these imply one-point perspective, an illusionary space that is itself undercut by the artist's placement of the vanishing point directly in the midst of the central void. The resultant dynamism--the work's oscillation between illusionistic picture and sculptural frame, between foreground and back-ground--requires the viewer to continuously refocus visually and psychologically. Yet these works, with their calm, almost Apollonian appearance, do not, in fact, lack playfulness or ironic lightness. …

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