Featuring: Steuart Pittman + Dan Grayber
Johansson Projects presents Formalities, a two-person exhibition featuring works by Dan Grayber and Steuart Pittman, in which familiar structures and seemingly rigorous forms are born from aesthetic impulse and a higher ambition towards geometric harmony.
If machines are inventions that ease the daily burdens of human existence, Dan Grayber’s work is the very antithesis of the statement. Grayber creates intricate mechanical objects that are designed solely to sustain themselves, rather than to appease the needs of its maker. They are self-resolving problems, constantly exerting an invisible energy, although they remain still and pristine, to the unsuspecting observer. Steuart Pittman also reacts to stark geometric forms that permeate everyday life. Inspired by industrial architectural surroundings and the worn patinas of old buildings, Pittman’s meticulous paintings memorialize the small shapes that normally go unnoticed. Relishing in the autonomous nature of his practice, he makes his paintings almost out of a spiritual need. His process results in bold motifs and subtle, unanticipated color relationships.
Whether it be the mechanical limbs that pivot and expand within Grayber’s vessels or the controlled, layered brushstrokes that build up Pittman’s minimal and sculptural paintings, both artists establish forms of dignified restraint in their work. The title, Formalities, in a sense is a tongue-in-cheek way of describing work in which rigor and precision bring forth unexpectedly satisfying exercises of small personal freedoms—work that resonates with optimism and humanity.