Life of Forms:
Doug Ashford, Andrea Büttner, Jimmie Durham, Pam Lins, Nora Schultz, Amy Sillman

Curated by Piper Marshall
30 April to 29 July 2016
541 West 24 Street

30 April to 29 July 2016

On 30 April 2016 Mary Boone Gallery will open at its Chelsea location Life of Forms, a group exhibition of works by DOUG ASHFORD, ANDREA BÜTTNER, JIMMIE DURHAM, PAM LINS, NORA SCHULTZ, and AMY SILLMAN. The exhibition is curated by Piper Marshall.

We begin with the poetics of form. This exhibition explores how an idea develops, gripping space through variations of matter. An artwork in this case is moving. It flows through a sequence of states, vulnerable to the process of change. As things, forms also serve as cultural markers, punctuating periods of use, or conversely of uselessness, within a duration longer than the human scope.

Amy Sillman’s sequence of eighteen drawings is a space we enter through the eye, but also through an affect. We see form as it travels across paper; colors challenge momentum yet impel it onward. Black looping brushstrokes nearly delineate a shape, only for smears of grey to interrupt the composition. Form falls down, washed into the space of abstraction. In one frame it becomes an arm, a bloated cartoonish version, only to travel to the next where the whirls develop into three loose, laughing tongues. Form provokes a difficult excitement. With each artwork in Life of Forms there is compelling, felt sensation: shame, ecstasy, mourning, the empathy of shape to text.

So too, we watch the legs of Nora Schultz’s sculptures in momentary arrest, the concrete blocks paused mid-step, soon to leap forward and traverse the broad, reflective floor of the gallery. Across from these appendages, not fixed fast, the lines in Andrea Büttner’s woodcuts vibrate. These simultaneously join and divide, blurring the boundary between figure and ground, to organize the components of the picture, including the viewer, to exist beside one another. The truth to these works is a certain kind of ethic, one of reciprocity.

In addition, we see the ceramic architectural models of Pam Lins. For the moment, these Vkhutemas miniatures both represent and store an ideal. Nested within their mass is the struggle to produce a sparkling vision, one that is built, instructed, repeated. Alongside them, a wooden lattice portions a space. Through its frame, the work of Jimmie Durham presents a typology of mundane things, a moral economy of time. Each form here has gone in and out of context, circulation. Cast off and reemerging, the abject shows a past, compels us to look. Yet, forms too can also be a series of experiments, as in Doug Ashford’s Next Day where, as shapes in 28 different prints, they press against newspaper text to suggest a shared intimacy, a mediation of language.

These differing forms, taken together, obey their own sets of rules. They clue us into a slow-moving transformation, encouraging us to extend ourselves, to wake up to duration, to stretch to and with the elasticity of time.

The exhibition, at 541 West 24 Street, is view through 29 July 2016. For further information, please contact Ron Warren at the Gallery, or visit our website