How to Look Wrong
June 14, 2023 - August 12, 2023
Weinstein Hammons Gallery is delighted to present an exhibition of new paintings by Ruben Nusz, his fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.
OPENING RECEPTION WITH THE ARTIST
Wednesday, June 14th, 2023, 6-8pm
With this recent exhibition of 19 paintings, Ruben Nusz (he/him) continues his decades-long exploration of what is still possible within the expanded lexicon of painting.
Rooted in idiosyncratic and well-researched color theory, Nusz returns to the geometric abstraction he first established with the gallery a decade ago. Paintings in this exhibition feature an illusory still-life structure that appears spatially incongruous; scenarios he describes in terms of theater, “I’m merging the ‘theater of the absurd’ with Malevich’s nonobjective abstraction. The distorted still life is like a theater stage, and the circles in the paintings serve as actors. Over time, these circles take on their own personality and hint at representation. It’s like the Myth of Sisyphus, except the story isn’t about Sisyphus, but rather the stone.”
Nusz’s work is inspired by a variety of influences, from Cezanne’s still-life paintings of apples to Viking shields, Ms. Pacman, Anni Albers textiles and the comedy of Mitch Hedberg. The small scale of the works, most measuring eight-by-ten inches, are, as Nusz describes them, “lyric poems, not novels.” By distorting the phenomenology of a picture, one warps space and time because the two are interrelated. As the viewer looks at these paintings, they are inclined to try to decode the image. The whole effort grounds perception in the present moment. The spatial contradictions act like a visual koan.
The exhibition’s title, How to Look Wrong addresses not only the distorted aesthetics of the pictures but also the artist’s ongoing vision problems and the difficulties of making art in 2023. “Most days, I’m riddled with doubt; I’m not sure if I can make work that addresses the suffering and the absurdity of the world. But, I can make work that shares my own idiosyncratic perspective, my affection for introspection, and my thirst for color and brightness in a world that is often bleak.”
Painter and writer Ruben Nusz (pronounced news) was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the son of a carpenter and a bookkeeper. He has exhibited paintings and sculptures at galleries and museums across the United States, including New Orleans Museum of Art, Phoenix Art Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego). His work is featured in the permanent collections of the Walker Art Center, Minnesota Museum of American Art, North Dakota Museum of Art, Weisman Art Museum, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. He has received a number of awards and fellowships, including a Visual Arts Fellowship from the McKnight Foundation.
Nusz is also co-founder of Location Books, an independent publisher that provides contemporary artists opportunities to produce new work in book form. Location artist books are found in art libraries throughout the United States, including the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, SFMOMA, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
His writing has been featured online and in various print journals, including The Walker Art Center Magazine, Kenyon Review, New American Writing (forthcoming), and The Georgia Review (forthcoming).
He lives and works in Arden Hills and Minneapolis, MN.