Marianne Boesky Gallery presents Arches, Dean Levin’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition marks the next phase in Levin’s investigations of form, space, and material, as he frees his convex paintings from the confines of the wall and re-contextualizes them within the vocabulary of sculpture.
Arches features Levin’s first large-scale sculptural installation, inspired by the classical form of the arch, alongside a series of new paintings.
Levin’s practice has been characterized by a deep engagement with the monochrome, extending Minimalist thinking and aesthetics to explore its behaviors and implications on objects in both two and three dimensional space. His interrelated series, including his wooden line sculptures, mirrored panels, and convex paintings, emphasize the profound impact of subtle gestures on the ways in which objects are perceived and experienced. This is particularly enhanced by the modular nature of his works, and the use of matte finishes, which further highlight fine imperfections produced in the process of their making. Levin also activates his works by using the physicality of the environments in which they are presented to identify a set of parameters that dictate, in part, their creation. In this way, Levin develops a layered conceptual and physical experience that builds on itself.
With his upcoming exhibition, Levin engages in a direct dialogue with one of architecture’s most classical forms—the arch—re-envisioning it as a sculptural object with independent agency. While many architectural styles and ornamentations have been developed and disposed of through time, structural components—like arches—have remained, carrying a historic nostalgia and an ongoing contemporary relevance within both artistic and architectural lexicons. Constructed from a set of black matte convex panels, Levin’s arches appear to gently undulate as the viewer moves closer and further from them and through and around them, creating a dynamic set of relationships between the overarching structure, space, and viewer, as well as among the individual panels.
Each panel is made through Levin’s distinct process of pouring fiberglass-reinforced plaster into framed Lycra, and allowing gravity to shape an organic convex form. He then paints the panels with a very thin oil, diluted substantially by turpentine, to produce a matte finish. This process allows for natural imperfections that suggest the originality of the artist’s hand, defying the expected uniformity and mass production of building materials. Likewise, the use of the panels challenges the commonly understood function of the arch as load bearing, as the panels appear at once flat and three-dimensional, confusing perceptions of their depth and weight and intensifying the role of the viewer in defining the work.
The presentation of the arch is augmented by a series of new paintings that depict a range of exterior and interior architectural views. Rendered first digitally and then transferred onto the canvas, the paintings play with the gradation and weight of color and line, with some portions highly defined and others washed out to near nothingness. The paintings pull Levin’s play with depth and three-dimensionality back into the two-dimensional frame, creating a concave complement to the primary sculptural installation in the exhibition. Together, the works immerse the viewer in an encompassing, perception-bending experience.
New York-based artist Dean Levin’s (b. 1988) background in architecture informs his study of light, color, and space through sculpture, painting and installation. Levin’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Marianne Boesky Gallery, NY; Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles; Pippy Houldsworth Gallery/The Box, London; Bill Brady Gallery, Kansas City, MO; and Robert Blumenthal Gallery, NY. He has also participated in group exhibitions at Jeffrey Stark, NY; Luhring Augustine, NY; The National Exemplar Gallery, NY; COMA Gallery, Rushcutters Bay, Australia; and Super Dakota, Brussels, Belgium, among others. He holds a Bachelors in Architecture from Pratt Institute in New York. Levin was born in Johannesburg, grew up in California, and now lives and works in Brooklyn.Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen. Photo credit: Object Studies.