16 September – 21 October 2016
Opening reception: Thursday 15 September, 6 - 8 pm
Anthony Meier Fine Arts is pleased to present Marsha Cottrell’s first exhibition with the gallery. This will be the artist’s first solo presentation on the West Coast. Cottrell utilizes the tool of the laser printer as one would a paint brush, registering mathematically defined lines and shapes grabbed from the software’s tool palette onto handmade paper in multiple passes of carbon-based toner. Each work is an improvisation that develops slowly and gradually on the page, or an instantaneously generated translation of a carefully controlled file, interpreted according to the printer’s unpredictability when “misused.”
AMFAs exhibition presents three bodies of work within Cottrell’s oeuvre–Spectral Sun and related works, Apertures, and grid-based compositions that expand on the artist’s Interior series. Seamlessly integrating digital technology and the handmade into a new language of abstraction, each body of work explores imagery in seemingly infinite variation, employing error, accident and repetition. For Cottrell, the quotidian office computer and software is an analytical and resistant framework from which she considers human interiority, consciousness, and the corporeal.
Spectral Sun and related images bring to mind celestial bodies but insist on a deeper read. Radiating or concentric lines define glowing orbs that simultaneously expand our notion of space while also pointing us inward. These works are determined in part by the printer’s attempt to interpret a densely knit file of mathematically rotated or scaled lines. The time-stamps included in the titles refer to the computer’s internal clock, marking the work according to the moment it emerged from the printer.
The Aperture Series and grid-based works are abstractions of light and space that fully embrace the accumulation of powdery matte-black toner. Here the printer becomes a tool that records every action the artist makes onscreen—materially preserving each decision. There is no corresponding digital file for each unique image; instead the paper is the canvas onto which the image evolves through a process of translucent layering.
The exhibition also features a new unique, large-format platinum print. This early photographic process involves hand-coating paper with a platinum/palladium solution and exposing it, along with a photographic negative, to sunlight. For these works Cottrell creates a digital (camera-less) negative by scaling and repeating geometric line-shapes in mathematical increments. Paired with the metal-infused photosensitive paper and exposed to UV light it’s a conceptual nod to and blending of 19th century technology with the digital age.
Cottrell is a recipient of the 2013 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, Biennial Award; the 2007 Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Fellowship Grant in Drawing; and the 2001 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Fellowship. Selected public collections include The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Morgan Library and Museum, New York, NY; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA.