Home Curatorial Essays David Leach

David Leach

-- Wright State University Galleries. From Catalogue Essay in Dialogue, Sept. 1980. pp. 47-49.
"Generative Issues: A Common Ground" - Jasper Johns/Samuel Beckett; Robbe-Grillet/ Robert Rauschenberg; Peter D'Agostino; Donald Harvey; Bruce Conner; Alexis Smith; Sol Lewitt; Betty Collings; Sonia Sheridan.

"For over two decades the work of Alain Robbe-Grillet has been provocative, to say the least, for writers and visual artists alike. Since his collaboration with Alain Resnais on Last Year in Marienbad and subsequent films of his own, the French author has virtually embodied the question of relationships between the novel and film media. While forcing overly direct parallels between the languages of each has its real dangers, it is beguiling to consider general similarieits in the methods of approach amongst artists in the fields of literature and art. …

Of course the relationship between literature and art in general has a considerable history. Writers and poets have long influenced and been influenced by artists. Collaborative efforts betgween artists and weriters are again nothing new. Serial efforts in both narrative and purely formal art forms have existed for centuries, and every artists's gradual progression from one canvas to the next - even the decision to paint within the confines of a rectangular space - could be seen as adoption of a generative technique. There are particular characteristics, however, within the structuring devices ofcertain artists and authors which contribute significantly to a generally common thrust. …

Given the limitations of space for any single exhibition, however, some consideration must be given to the wide range of artists who generate series, sequences and systems utilizing art forms which do not share a physical resemblance or affinity to literature and language. Within some of the wide range of systems oriented painters and sculptors who deal with progressions and permutations of images, shapes, and forms, there exists an understated relationship to practitioners of generative fiction, namely, the ability of each progression to engender its own form. Linguistic generators -rhyme schemes, alliteration, assonance, both reductive and proliferative - most exemplified in the self-referential engendering devices of Jean Ricardou, can be compared to the mathematical progressions of Sol LeWitt and the topologically evolved forms of Betty Collings. …

For Ohio artist Betty Collings, a much more flexible and amorphous series of forms generate from a topolgicial "model" in contrast to the geometry of LeWitt. For the past five years, Collings has been generating seemingly endless forms, all deriving from relatively simple forms. The forms, made from a transparent vinyl and filled with air, become more complex as they are combined and juxtaposed, form to form, producing sets and subsets of related forms. Topologist Phil Huneke has worked with results, analyzing and codifying Betty's work into theorems and corollaries, while Betty has independently developed her own linear, color-coded map-like drawings and photo-diagrammatic records. Whereas this "collaboration" is really after the fact and the languages of mathematics and art retain their independence, the potential growth and interpretation from each direction coincides with the open-ended availability of generative systems. Coincidentally, in an interview with Beverly Livingston in the recent Yale French Studies, Robbe-Gcrillet talks about a Klein bottle as an inside-outside metaphor, for his use of external generators in Topology of a Phantom City. …"

Associated colloquium participants: Sonia Sheridan, Betty Collings, Diane Kirkpatrick, Peter D'Agostino, Bruce Morrisette, Karlis Racevskis and Anna Otten. Evening lecture by Robbe-Grillet.




Home Curatorial Essays David Leach