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Cristin Tierney Gallery is pleased to present Themes and Variations, featuring new and recent work by Elise Ferguson, Mark Sengbusch, and Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins. The exhibition opens Thursday, November 3rd, with a reception from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The artists will be present at the opening. Themes and Variations ends Saturday, December 17th.
This exhibition highlights work by artists influenced by the history and strategies of design. Their practices exhibit a devotion to research and technology, complemented by an economy of form and command of materials. In Themes and Variations, the artists’ experimental approaches have been channeled into a spirited body of abstract paintings and sculptures marked by repetitive forms and suggestive palettes.
Collaborative duo Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins present abstract paintings based on color studies. Their precise compositions of gridded squares and rectangles are created from complex formulas the artists have devised using 21st-century color theory. The painting For Ad, named after Ad Reinhardt, features perception-altering fields of varying shades of red and oranges similar to the renowned Minimalist artist’s work. Although the paintings are created by hand, their surfaces are completely smooth, empty of visible brushstrokes or signs of the artists’ touch. The degree of perfection in their finish is a testament to the artists’ rigorous process of testing and design.
Like Marman and Borins, who use software to perfect their juxtapositions of color, Elise Ferguson composes her works first on her computer, using mathematical puzzles and geometric variations to create pigmented plaster works existing at the intersection of painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Her simple, modular forms offer a framework through which serial variations can be endlessly played out by changing the line, ratio, thickness, pattern, or scale. Works like the large six-panel painting Signatures are created using built-up layers of plaster troweled onto MDF panels—materials with a wide array of industrial and non-art applications. Although her palettes are limited, Ferguson’s combinations of hues are derived from her sophisticated synthesis of color theory and modernist design history.
Raised by a clothing designer mother and architect stepfather, Ferguson’s work is grounded in the traditions of textiles and architecture. Mark Sengbusch’s sculptures and wall-hanging works, on the other hand, are inspired by handmade toys, Japanese wood joinery, and Brutalist architecture. His standalone sculptures are assembled without glue or hardware, and fit together like a puzzle. Kid Icarus, for example, is made of several separate pieces of painted plywood that, when constructed, resemble a futuristic built structure. All of the works in Themes and Variations radiate a whimsical energy, but the sense of play is strongest in Sengbusch’s presentation. Neons, rich jewel tones, and bright summery hues make up the artist’s palette, for which he credits ‘70s and ‘80s fashion, ‘90s video game design, and skateboard stickers.
Themes and Variations features a seductive group of colorful, geometric works by artists breaking new ground in design theory. Their paintings and sculptures embrace digital technologies and pop cultural references, making an argument for the continued power of abstraction to encapsulate the vagaries of the Internet Age.
Elise Ferguson (b. 1964 Richmond, VA) earned her MFA from The University of Illinois, Chicago in 1995, and her BFA from The School of Art Institute of Chicago in 1988. Her work has been exhibited extensively nationally and internationally, with recent solo exhibitions at Romer Young Gallery, 57W57 Arts, Halsey Mckay, and Barton College Art Galleries, among others. Selected group exhibitions include Massey Klein, Illinois State University, Able Baker Contemporary, Dieu Donné Papermill and Johannes Vogt Gallery. Awards and Residencies include the 2018 Dieu Donne Paper Variables Artist, the 2014 Northern Trust Purchase Prize - Expo Chicago, Artist-in-Residence: Illinois State University, SIU-Carbondale, University Museum: Merit Award, MacDowell Colony and the Socrates Sculpture Park Residency. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Artforum, The Wall Street Journal, Contemporary Magazine, Interior Design, Art on Paper, Modern Painters and Art News. Ferguson’s studio is located in Ridgewood, NY.
Jennifer Marman (b. 1965, Toronto) and Daniel Borins (b. 1974, Toronto) have co-authored work since 2000. In a body of work encompassing installations, paintings, large-format sculpture, and electronic art, Marman and Borins contextualize visual art squarely within everyday life while simultaneously referring to and reassessing twentieth century art history. Solo exhibitions include the Art Gallery of Ontario, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Art Gallery of Hamilton, and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Select group exhibitions include The Power Plant, the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale, and the National Gallery of Canada. Their work is held in several notable public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, and the City of Toronto. Public commissions include Water Guardians at the Water Front Toronto, Dodecadandy for the City of Toronto and Toronto Transit Commissionworks, and Google for The Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto. Marman holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, and Borins holds a BA in Art History from McGill University. Both artists have also obtained advanced degrees from the Ontario College of Art and Design. The artists are based in Toronto and Southwestern Ontario.
Mark Sengbusch’s (b. 1979, Ravenna, OH) recent shows include a solo exhibition at Best Western in Ridgewood, Queens, and group shows at Beverly’s, My Pet Ram, and Underdonk. He received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2008 and his BFA from College for Creative Studies in 2002 after a year at Central St. Martin’s School of Art in London in 2001. He has participated in residencies at Vermont Studio Center and was awarded the Milton and Sally Avery Foundation Fellowship to attend Byrdcliffe Arts Colony Residency in 2019 and 2021. He has exhibited with Bushwick’s Transmitter Gallery, David Klein Gallery in Detroit, and Hilde in Los Angeles. This is the artist’s first presentation with Cristin Tierney Gallery. Sengbusch lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Founded in 2010, Cristin Tierney Gallery is a contemporary art gallery located on The Bowery with a deep commitment to the presentation, development and support of a roster of both established and emerging artists. Its program emphasizes artists engaged with critical theory and art history, with an emphasis on conceptual, video, and performance art. Education and audience engagement is central to our mission. Cristin Tierney Gallery is a member of the ADAA (Art Dealers Association of America).
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