Lehmann Maupin is pleased to present Robin Rhode’s third solo exhibition with the gallery, Borne Frieze, on view at 536 West 22nd Street from June 25-August 21, 2015. This exhibition will showcase several new works that explore and reinforce the central importance of drawing to Rhode’s multi-faceted artistic practice. The artist will be present for an opening reception on June 25, from 6-8PM.
Inspired by his South African heritage, Rhode titled the exhibition Borne Frieze, an adaptation of the commonly used phrase “Born Frees,” a moniker given to the generation born after the end of Apartheid in 1994. Rhode, who came of age during this period, often investigates the contrast between old ideals and new desires and imbues his works with a sense of freedom and change that is evocative of this time. Building on the artist’s frequent use of visual and verbal puns, Borne Frieze creates a bridge between the political heritage of his home country and the energy, spontaneity, and ephemerality of his artistic practice, which has long included the wall drawing as a key form. By bringing an object, idea, or action forth (borne) to a medium central to Rhode’s practice such as the wall (frieze), the artist evokes the improvisational and vibrant nature of his work.
Despite his range of visual approaches, Rhode views drawing as a fundamental aspect of his practice and of all art making. The basic elements of drawing such as immediacy, gesture, economy of means, and rhythm are consistently reflected in all of his work and form the core of this exhibition. Several new works that embody Rhode’s cross-disciplinary vision incorporate sculptural elements as tools to create drawings. In Light Giver Light Taker and Chalk Bike, Rhode expands the idea of what can be used as a drawing instrument by utilizing unconventional objects to make marks, here in sweeping, performative gestures, on the gallery’s walls and floor. Whether a life-size bicycle in Chalk Bike or larger-than-life chalk and charcoal light bulbs in Light Giver Light Taker, Rhode believes that using such tools equates to a form of animism, or imbuing such inanimate objects with a soul. Rhode “activates” these objects to create his drawings, and they remain in the gallery as a monument to the actions performed. Rhode’s drawings, like his performances and other actions, are ephemeral and these traces left behind are not meant to be permanent.
In addition to his Lehmann Maupin exhibition, Rhode will present Drawing Waves at The Drawing Center in New York from July 17 through August 30, 2015.