New Dimensions

Geometric shapes bend and interlock. Arcs, circles and straight lines pile up on top of each other. Shadows intersect and create deep crevices. These are works by Wyatt Kahn (b. 1983), a New York-based artist who, for the past ten years, has been shaping wooden stretchers to produce canvas-covered wall reliefs. In doing so, he engages with Modernist legacies of painting and sculpture.


Kahn’s newest pieces, on view at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, are a stark, bright white. “I like to think of them as bare because I did not make them white, rather I left them unprimed and ungessoed as they were. This places the objects in a sort of limbo.” They also mark a point of departure for the artist, who usually works in two-dimensions. “This past year made me look back at the foundational structures of my practice and add layers of chaos on top of them.” Planes that would usually radiate outwards, right and left, now stack upwards – obstructing and complicating the picture.


These forms evoke the work of Neo-Concrete artist Lygia Clark (1920-1988). During the mid-to-late 20th century, the artist was a pioneer of abstraction – questioning the relationship between art object and spectator. Kahn cites Ovo (1959), a black circular void protruding from the gallery wall, amongst his influences. Both creatives were intrigued by fast passing of solar and cyclical time. Elsewhere, audiences can find nods to early Modernism’s lush arcadias – broken down into their foundational parts and limbs.


A sense of fragmentation is crucial to Kahn’s recent works, which hover between states of being. “On the one hand, they are fully completed objects. On the other, they have a canvas in a state that would normally be considered incomplete or in process – it would normally be gessoed and painted,” he explains. “I felt this captured the nature of the moment. Whilst there was some resolution this past year, much still feels unresolved or in process. I think we are in a moment of change yet much of it is very unfinished. There is both great anxiety and also incredible hope and beauty. I wanted these works to embody all this.”


Wyatt Kahn is at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, until 13 March. Find out more here.


Image Credits:
1. Installation view, Wyatt Kahn, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Maag Areal, Zurich, 2021 © Wyatt Kahn Courtesy the artist and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich / New York. Photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography, Zuric
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2. Wyatt Kahn, A Month Away, 2020. Linen on linen on panel. 250 x 170 x 18 cm / 98 1/2 x 67 x 7 in. © Wyatt Kahn. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich / New York.
3. Wyatt Kahn, Untitled, 2020. Linen on linen on panel. 219.5 x 188 x 17 cm / 86 1/2 x 74 x 6 3/4 in © Wyatt Kahn. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich / New York.
4. Wyatt Kahn, Piled Up (Ben’s Dream), 2020. Linen on linen on panel. 186 x 181 x 19.5 cm / 73 1/4 x 71 1/4 x 7 3/4 in. © Wyatt Kahn. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich / New York.
5. Wyatt Kahn, Seated Bather, 2020. Linen on linen on panel. 239 x 193 x 12.5 cm / 94 x 76 x 5 in © Wyatt Kahn Courtesy the artist and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich / New York.
6. Wyatt Kahn, Profile, 2020. Linen on linen on panel. 244 x 181.5 x 18 cm / 96 x 71 1/2 x 7 in. © Wyatt Kahn. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich / New York.
7. Wyatt Kahn, The Old Man, 2020. Linen on linen on panel. 236 x 155 x 11 cm / 93 x 61 x 4 1/4 in © Wyatt Kahn.

Courtesy the artist and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich / New York

Posted on 2 March 2021

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