Shotgun Reviews are an open forum where we invite the international art community to contribute timely, short-format responses to an exhibition or event. If you are interested in submitting a Shotgun Review, please click this link for more information. In this Shotgun Review, Melissa Thorson Hause reviews RR&P: Repetition, Rhythm, and Pattern at the Lewis Art Gallery at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi.
A century ago, avant-garde art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler asserted that geometry is “deeply rooted” in our processes of seeing—it gives us, he said, our “categories of vision” and constitutes the “necessary condition for all objective perception.” Kahnweiler’s words resonate with the viewer of RR&P: Repetition, Rhythm, and Pattern, an exhibition of works by ten emerging and mid-career artists largely allied with reductive abstraction. All the works—from charcoal drawings to plexi-mounted digital prints, leaded glass, and mixed-media assemblages—propose a dialogue with the geometric; each represents the result of formal distillation, of visual reduction to a near-minimalist language. Kahnweiler would doubtless have approved.
Yet for all their geometric rigor, these works also hint at the off-kilter, not-so-tidy unraveling of mass-produced, machine-age modes. Kim Beck’s charcoal drawings (all titled Construction Fence ), for example, give eerie personality to manufactured barriers, while Anna Mikolay’s two folded-paper “paintings”—Lines, Folds, Light, and Time, both from 2013—respond idiosyncratically to subtle changes in light, humidity, and the motion of the air. Lilly Zuckerman’s ceramic sculptures (6”x4.5”x3”, 4”x4”x3”, and 5”x3”x3.5” ) transform spare white lines into three-dimensional doodles, and Megan Cotts’ Fig. 5 (n.d.) is an aluminum honeycomb structure that engages details of her family history.
This same interplay of geometric and organic, of the regularized and the uncontrolled, informs other works in the show as well. Some pieces reveal the tactile traces of the artist’s encounter with the materials. Alex Paik’s paper sculptures and Helen O’Leary’s mixed-media assemblages come to mind in this regard. Others, like Crystal Gregory’s leaded-glass architectures (Passage ) or Brian Giniewski’s Paperweights (2013), evoke a sense of intimacy through their small scale and reference to specific environments.
With its generous range of formats and media, RR&P: Repetition, Rhythm, and Pattern both asserts the reductive visual language of minimalist abstraction and bends it toward the individual, unpredictable, and ultimately quirky identity of forms, materials, and sites.
RR&P: Repetition, Rhythm, and Pattern, curated by Lindsey Landfried, is on view through March 26 in the Lewis Art Gallery at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi.
Melissa Thorson Hause is associate professor of art history at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi. In addition to writing about art, she is also active as a German–English translator for art and architecture.
 Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, from The Rise of Cubism, quoted in Art in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, 2nd ed., ed. Charles Harrison and Paul Wood (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003), 213.