Franklin Parrasch Gallery is pleased to announce Charles Ross + James Case-Leal. Though generationally separate, the concerns, histories, and motivations of these two artists are aligned on multiple levels. Included in this exhibition are new paintings by Case-Leal alongside historic works by Ross from three discrete series: Prisms, Solar Burns, and Explosion Drawings.
Charles Ross (b. 1937 Philadelphia, PA) was an undergraduate student pursuing his degree in Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley when he took a beginning sculpture class with Sidney Gordin in order to fulfill a liberal arts requirement. This course ignited a spark, and Ross quickly transitioned away from mathematical proofs and the physics lab to the studio. Following graduation in 1960 Ross enrolled in the MA program at Berkeley, which he completed in 1962. Ever since, Ross has dedicated his life and career to making art that responds conceptually to the effects of light, time, mathematical structures, and the formal and visual potential of phenomena. A key component of Ross’ early career included work on theatrical sets and choreography, performing and collaborating with such icons of postmodern performance and dance as Anna Halprin, Yvonne Rainer, Deborah Hay, and the Judson Dance Theater. Performance art and dance made manifest Ross’ interest in both movement and the inanimate object, but in the mid-1960s, after a series of acclaimed national and international performances, Ross refocused his aesthetic interests and began work on a series of minimal prismatic sculptures. This body of work neatly synthesized Ross’ academic background and his post-collegiate pursuits as it called to attention the optic possibilities of the various prism pieces in their surrounding environments. In the late 1960s, Sol LeWitt encouraged Ross to approach Virginia Dwan, the vanguard dealer of minimal art and earthworks, for a show in New York; he soon thereafter joined the ranks of the artists she championed and exhibited in New York and Los Angeles until the closure of the gallery in 1971.
Though he has steadfastly maintained a process and practice that is largely and intentionally disconnected from the framework of continuous commercial gallery presence, Ross is significantly influential amongst a core following of fellow artists, collectors, curators, mathematicians, and scientists. In 1971, Ross conceived of the work for which he is, to this day, perhaps most significantly known: Star Axis, the monumental eleven-story architectural earthwork, a naked eye observatory designed in coordination with the Earth’s axis and the star Polaris. Actual construction began atop a mesa in central New Mexico in 1976, and this work, over 40 years in the making and the focus of much of Ross’ life and career, is slated for completion soon. The interchange between light and matter has remained at the core of the artist’s formal interests as Ross continues to engage the language of mathematical and spectral phenomena in an interactive practice that both responds to and reflects his aesthetic consciousness.
James Case-Leal (b. 1982, Dallas, TX) graduated with a BFA from the University of North Texas in 2006, where his early practice comprised sculptural, photographic, and performance-based work. In 2012, he enrolled in Columbia University’s MFA program with a focus in Sculpture and New Genres; it was during his second year of graduate studies that a photographic endeavor inspired his first foray into painting. Case-Leal’s inclination to approach painting as a sculptural process led him to develop a highly specialized system which has naturally evolved as he continues to test technological limitations and make refinements. Using airbrushing and sanding techniques, Case-Leal builds up and reduces the surface of his paintings multiple times, first while establishing the image ground, and then when articulating the actual painted image. Like Ross’ oeuvre, Case-Leal’s work has focused on the pictorial representation of light and its optical effects; however, the origins of his painted work first and foremost relate back to his roots as a performance artist and sculptor. Working from a combination of intuitive imagery, optical modeling, and observational source material, Case-Leal’s paintings are mystical, unexpectedly dimensional representations of visible and imagined light.
Charles Ross is a 2011 recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. His works reside in the permanent collections of numerous institutions internationally including the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York). He is included in James Crump’s forthcoming film “Troublemakers: the Story of Land Art” alongside other earthwork artists such as Vito Acconci, Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer, Nancy Holt, and Robert Smithson; “Trouble Makers” has been included in the twelve film documentary lineup for the 2015 New York Film Festival.
James Case-Leal has performed and exhibited throughout North America, most recently participating in summer group exhibitions at Marianne Boesky Gallery and Fergus McCaffrey Gallery in New York. In 2011 he was granted Artist-in-Residence Fellowships from both the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Center for Book Arts.
Charles Ross + James Case-Leal will be on view at Franklin Parrasch Gallery from September 10-October 24, 2015. A limited edition, fully-illustrated catalogue has been produced in conjunction with this exhibition. The artists will be present for an opening reception on September 10 from 6-8p. For further information, please contact the gallery during business hours, Tues-Fri 10a-6p, at 212-246-5360, or at email@example.com.