Galleries

Unpacking Willard Boepple’s Monoprints

by Alix Taylor on July 16, 2014

20-02-13m

Willard Boepple, “20.02.13 M” (2013), monoprint, 19 x 15 1/2 inches. (image courtesy of the artist and Lori Bookstein Fine Art, NY)

Willard Boepple’s solo show of monoprints at Lori Bookstein Fine Art opens with one of the artist’s mounted resin works, “Ways and Means” (2002), a purple structure of overlapping translucent geometric forms. The monoprints, which take their inspiration from Boepple’s resin work, maintain the same translucent, overlapping quality introduced to the viewer by the only sculpture in the show. However, translated to a two-dimentional medium, the show feels more like a cataloguing of Boepple’s sculptural work than it does any kind of genuine artistic exploration of printmaking as a medium.

photo 1

Willard Boepple, “Ways and Means” (2002) (image by the author for Hyperallergic)

Boepple’s sculpture has historically spoken to the way things work (a turn of phrase that actually became the title of a series of his resin work), the artist’s interest in engineering and transforming the mechanisms of practicality into art objects is evident in his body of work. Investigations into looms, shelves, and mechanics typify his work in three-dimensions, and apparently his flat work is no exception. Walking through the gallery, the prevalence of an imagery that resembles aspects of quotidian objects is in no way missing from the artist’s foray into print. The monoprints feature a series of progressions of folded forms, repeated in unique color variations. The overlapping geometric blocks of color bear resemblance to bandaids, envelopes, and tents.

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Installation view (image by the author for Hyperallergic)

Lining the walls of the blank white space in vibrant hues of yellow, purple, orange, and green, the half-folded origami shapes feel less like an investigation into the quotidian and more like an experiment in a modern, minimal typology, classifying his language of shapes and forms into physical characteristics around the walls of the gallery. The diversity of shape from one set of repeated images to the next nearly disappears into the absolute series-ness of the show, reinforced by the continuously bright color-palate and unfailing illusion of overlapping transparency.

Installation view of "26.11.13 C" (2013) and "26.11.13 M" (2013). (image by the author for Hyperallergic)

Installation view of “26.11.13 C” (2013) and “26.11.13 M” (2013). (image by the author for Hyperallergic)

Yes, the more puzzling cogs and gears from Boeple’s other work make an appearance in the playful and colorful summer solo show. Works “26.11.13 C” and “26.11.13 M” appear to be taken straight from Boeple’s Loom series. However, the mirroring spidery compositions in yellow and purple, fade into the background alongside the heavier forms like “20.02.13 M” (2013), which, visual power aside, had me asking: bandaid or banana?

Overall, walking through Lori Bookstein feels like watching Boepple in the midst of packing, where the walls of the gallery become an intimate window into his meticulously laid out inventory of jumbled tents, misshapen ladders, and other almost-practical forms.

Left, , and right, It's hard not to see some Willard Boepple, "The Sense of Things #8" (2000). (image courtesy of WillardBoepple.com)

Left, Willard Boepple, “#4-TI G” (2004), Monoprint, 25 1/4 x 32 inches. (image courtesy the artist and Lori Bookstein Fine Art), and right, It’s hard not to see some Willard Boepple, “The Sense of Things #8″ (2000). (image courtesy of WillardBoepple.com)

Installation view of "02.01.09 I" (2009) and "02.01.09 B" (2009), forms that bear an uncanny resemblance to those in "Ways and Means" (2002). (image courtesy of the author for Hyperallergic)

Installation view of “02.01.09 I” (2009) and “02.01.09 B” (2009), forms that bear an uncanny resemblance to those in “Ways and Means” (2002). (image courtesy of the author for Hyperallergic)

Willard Boepple: Monoprints continues at Lori Bookstein Fine Art (138 Tenth Ave, Chelsea, Manhattan) through August 1. 

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