DON DUDLEY | Activated Walls and Recent Works

Opening reception: Saturday, 24 February 2018, 4pm
Introduction: Georg Imdahl, Düsseldorf
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 11-6, Sat 12-6 and by appointment

Galerie Thomas Zander is pleased to present an exhibition of new wall pieces as well as large-scale drawings from the mid-1980s by the New York-based artist Don Dudley. Dudley has continuously experimented with geometric compositions in space in various forms. Born in Los Angeles in 1930, he moved to New York in 1969. His work is a unique form of Minimal Art representing a dialogue between the practices of the American East and West Coasts, between the more conceptual Minimalism and Finish Fetish and Light and Space movement of the 1960s, its colours and textures bearing references to the Southern Californian environment and aspiring to an industrial sublime. Dudley’s new wall pieces (2014-2017) use commercial, industrial construction materials like painted plywood, corrugated steel and glass in angular collages of various configurations. Assuming a three-dimensional surface, they explore the shaped canvas and question the boundaries between painting and sculpture. Unlike the irregular canvases of Kenneth Noland or Robert Mangold, viewers experience a dynamic interaction of forces at play in Dudley’s wall pieces: its planes and elements overlap, intersect, and fold across each other, investigating perception of movement and balance. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Dudley explored modular structures as well as spatial installations. His site-specific installations and drawings of the mid-1980s for solo shows at Queens Museum, New Museum of Contemporary Art, and Pam Adler Gallery in New York, as well as Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Denmark, are the subject of the 2017 monograph Activated Walls and Related Projects (Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, edited by T. Zander). The projects explore effects of three-dimensionality through overlapping triangles, steps, and angles in smoky, smudgy palettes echoing the city. The installations, transitory by nature, survive in Dudley’s abstract geometric drawings of the time, which are now on view for the first time. About two metres wide and made in oil and pastel colours, they exist as complex spatial and perspectival investigations. 
Drawings have always been an integral part of Dudley’s practice, reflecting an evolution of styles and sensibilities across many decades. Dudley’s forward-looking approach has never been dogmatic, but is notable for its sense of freedom in reshaping spaces and redefining boundaries. Dudley’s work is currently on view in the exhibition Between Two Worlds: Art of California at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His work is in public collections including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

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