Exploring Perception in Minimalist Reflections at Fresh Window

Three British Artists in their 70s at Fresh Window featured a body of minimalist work that explores perception, recognition, and spatial experiences. This show was organized by Bartha Contemporary Ltd. for the Exchange Rates Expo and was on view from October 20 to November 20, 2016.

Douglas Allsop uses reflective materials that echo the room where the artworks are placed. Reflective Editor, Two Horizontal Rectangular Holes, Parallel Pattern, Horizontal Division (2010) is hung prominently on the main wall of the square-spaced, white-wall gallery. The four rectangles, each cut in half by a black line, are made of cast acrylic frames. They outline a frameless view—we don’t see a straightforward reflection of ourselves, just the wall on which the work hangs. These angular, linear works show a skewed reality, warping the reflection of the viewer and the space in which they stand.

Adam Baker Mills explores the characteristics of light and shadow, an artistic investigation that he began in the sixties. The works have been meticulously crafted to dupe the viewer’s perception. Their experience of the work changes as the viewer walks from left to right. New colors are discerned, substances are redefined, and shapes are reformed. When viewing Shadowgap 2 (2016) straight on, it appears that two pieces of MDF have been hung parallel on the wall with a gap between them. Upon close inspection, the edges reveal a white paint that gives the illusion that the pieces are cut out. In Red Box (2016), pink and purple tones illuminate from the center. Depending on the viewer’s vantage point, the intensity and tone change as light and shadow overlap, giving life to new shapes of color.

Alan Johnston considers his practice to be a collaboration between art and architecture, as well as Eastern and Western aesthetics. In his Mies van der Rohe Haus Series, the artist utilizes Titanium White acrylic, pencil, charcoal, and beeswax on plywood to create different shapes and textures on black-and-white square panels. The surfaces have architectural references like windows, doors, and walls. Johnston’s abstracted works allow for meditation on line, color, and form.

Though these artists follow in the Minimalist tradition and utilize hard-edged, geometric shapes, they respond to the space in which they are exhibiting and thus transform it. Three British Artists in their 70s is engaging and witty, challenging visitors’ expectations and what they believe they are seeing.