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July 9–August 3, 2022
In the brand-new exhibition Fifty Paintings, a83 is excited to showcase Anthony Ames’s creative output. The architectural firm Anthony Ames Architect has been run by Ames since 1976. He is an active architect and artist in Atlanta, Georgia. Ames’ artistic practice combines collage, sculpture, and still life painting; his ability to capture the changeable quality of spatial perception is the hallmark of his distinctive aesthetic. Ames uses a color palette that is remarkably constant and creates ingenious compositions that threaten the stability of the picture plane.
Ames’s work employs overlap, occlusion, convergence, and diminution as illusory devices invoking “phenomenal transparency” defined by Gyorgy Kepes in 1944 and elaborated on by Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky a decade later. As opposed to literal transparency Rowe and Slutzky write about phenomenal transparency as “a condition to be discovered in a work of art…the transparent ceases to be that which is perfectly clear and becomes instead that which is clearly ambiguous.” That which is phenomenally transparent in Ames’s paintings oscillates between deep and shallow space. The compositions resist a singular reading and invite viewers to exercise their perceptual abilities as they navigate the works.
Pratt & Lambert acrylic latex house paint, which Ames does not mix and is supplied in a predetermined spectrum of colors, is used to create both his paintings and his interior designs. The paintings’ fixed color palette and the painted walls on which they are displayed relate to, enhance, or even complement each other, giving the impression that architecture and architectural depiction are one and the same. Columns that are depicted in relief or elevation in some compositions function according to pictorial logic by interrupting and occluding a scene in the same way that a structural column would. The paintings fluctuate between many possible spatial resolutions as a result of this interruption, which forces viewers to visually extrapolate the missing information. This is an opportunity to introduce spatial ambiguity.
Buildings and paintings by Anthony Ames are works of continuous composition, with one media influencing the other. This multimedia project’s consistency and longevity invite discussion concerning the boundary between the architectural discipline and the practice of painting. By coordinating the fusion of canvas and construction, Ames’ work pushes the boundaries between the disciplines of painting and architecture.
The Fifty Paintings exhibition by Anthony Ames at a83 features 47 paintings created between 1985 and 2022, three serigraph prints created in 1989 in collaboration with John Nichols Printmakers & Publishers at 83 Grand Street, a seven-piece porcelain set created by Swid Powell in 1990, and the accompanying monograph published in 2021.
About Anthony Ames, Architect
Anthony Ames has maintained an architectural practice in Atlanta, Georgia since 1976. He received architectural degrees from Georgia Tech and Harvard University. He has taught as eleven universities and lectured at many more. Ames, a fellow of the American Academy in Rome and of the American Institute of Architects has received numerous architectural awards including The Architectural League of New York “Emerging Voices” prize in 1983, and has been widely published. He began painting in 1984 and has been struggling with it ever since.
The three-part objective of a83 is to display, publish, and support innovative initiatives in design, art, and architecture. The organization, which was founded in 1978 by renowned printmaker John Nichols, still runs as a printmaking studio, project space, and expanding archive at its original home in Soho. The 83 Grand Street location is where exhibitions and installations are created, workshops are held, and new audiences are reached with the work.
83 Grand St
New York, NY 10013
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