Brent Wadden (b. 1979, Nova Scotia, Canada) graduated from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2003 and lives in Berlin. Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented at Peres Projects, Berlin (2013, 2014); Sorry We’re Closed, Brussels (2013); Almine Rech Gallery, Brussels (2014); and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York (2015). In January 2016, the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton will present The Grey Area, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in North America. Wadden first exhibited at Pace in 2013 in its New York presentation of Mingei: Are You Here?, curated by Nicolas Trembley. His other recent group exhibitions include Abstract America Today, Saatchi Gallery, London (2014); Be Mysterious, Walter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Centre (2014); Frauen, die Ausstellung, Autocenter, Berlin (2014); With Small Words, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna (2014); and Geometry of Knowing, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver (2015);
Pace Gallery is delighted to present sympathetic resonance, an exhibition of new work by Canadian artist Brent Wadden at 6 Burlington Gardens. The exhibition will be on view from 22 November 2018 to 10 January 2019.
Working on backstrap and floor looms, Wadden creates his large-scale work by weaving linear and abstract forms that he then stretches over raw canvas. Influenced by folk and Bauhaus textiles, the language and techniques of women quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, as well as painting movements such as Minimalism, Wadden’s pieces balance full and empty spaces, throwing the distinction between high and low into flux and using technical mistakes to progress. His paintings complicate hierarchies of media and disciplines, surfaces and textures with his own woven arrangements.
“Brent Wadden is resolutely an abstract painter. But then everything we view by him contradicts this first impression or in some way complicates our understanding of what it is we’re looking at. We apprehend the made qualities of the work itself; we recognize its materiality; we delight in its appearance. And yet Wadden investigates the potentials of these material and sensorial facts imbuing them with a contemporary relevance that stretches far beyond well-worn and overly familiar discussions.” Nigel Prince, Executive Director of the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.
The new compositions reveal an intricate symmetry of arrangements, rare textures and interplay between materials such as acrylic, left-over cotton and wool. They are the result of a continued technical and compositional experimentation with weaving stripes and the inherent idea of infinity that they address. Focusing on a consistent colour scheme which goes through the entire body of work, Wadden’s concern with weave reveals the depth of Abstract Expressionism’s influence on his practice, recognizing canvas not only as a precious support surface but one that has tactile qualities and complex intelligence.
The title of the exhibition refers to external harmonic audio vibrations that can create other sounds and hereby have secondary meanings. By extension, the term can also deal with human energy, a double meaning which was of specific interest to Wadden for these new works.
Wadden’s turn toward labour-intensive methods and techniques situates him within a group of artists who have resisted technology in favour of more physical, craft-based media. He sees his paintings as accumulating the residual energy of his materials, his labour and the different categorical translations that happen as he transforms raw craft material into a painting. Rather than reject the distinctions between textile and painting, craft and fine art, he embraces each, weaving them into his own aesthetic that resists fixed boundaries between media.
This is the third presentation of works by Brent Wadden at Pace in London.