Jeff Bailey Gallery is pleased to present Simplest Means, an exhibition focusing on shared visual affinities between Shaker design and reductive art. Shaker objects from the Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon, New York will be exhibited with works by Joshua Marsh, Michelle Grabner, Don Voisine, Nathlie Provosty, Seth Koen, Chie Fueki, Pete Schulte and Cary Smith.
The exhibition features a number of 19th century Shaker objects including a peg rail, basket, box, bowl, dipper, iron, chair, stand, farm tool and textiles. Chosen for their simple designs and harmonious forms, each object becomes a sculptural presence and a complement to the contemporary paintings, drawings and sculpture on view.
Repetition of forms and patterns is characteristic of many Shaker objects: the caning and slats on a chair, the weaving of a basket, the spindles and spools in a box, the pegs of a peg rail and the incised lines in a wooden bowl. Similarly, Chie Fueki’s drawing, Check, and Michelle Grabner’s paintings repeat a basic pattern, as do Nathlie Provosty’s drawn semi-circles and arcs and Pete Schulte’s striped block forms. The bold shapes of a bonnet and pronged chip fork (used to move shavings in a saw mill) are echoed in Cary Smith’s Splat drawings and Don Voisine’s striking geometric paintings. Seth Koen’s minimal sculptures in wood reference the fine contours of Shaker design, and Joshua Marsh’s painting of a dustpan and broom remind us of the simple beauty that can be found in common objects.
The formal relationships established between the Shaker objects and contemporary artworks may seem accidental, however, it is through their making, by the simplest of means (media, method and design), that purity and perfection are sought and perhaps achieved.