“Anomalies” – Solo Exhibition at June Kelly Gallery

Visit the Portfolio for more from the Anomalies series

When We Collide, ink & acrylic gouache on paper, 24″ square. Photo: Jean Vong

Anomalies, an exhibition of Sky Pape’s recent intricate, linear works of ink and paint on paper, was on view at the June Kelly Gallery, 166 Mercer Street, New York, from Thursday, September 9th through October 12th, 2021. Art & Antiques magazine wrote that these works, “…built up from white lines on a black field, are intricate and dazzling, as if Op Art were blended with astrophysics,” adding, “Abstract as it is, her work relates to current social and political realities insofar as it illuminates the dichotomy of instability and resilience.” [September issue, p. 23]

Geometry and patterns figure largely in interpretations of the universe through our senses, science, and cultures. Drawing upon such material, Sky Pape’s Anomalies series features repeating geometric motifs, while holding room for surprises to slip in. Regarding the variations within her organized patterns, Pape notes, “Anomalies appear in both natural and constructed systems, and indeed, the tenacity of much life may be credited to the aberrations that some might label flaws. Intentional and serendipitous irregularities in my structured compositions reveal tolerance thresholds for difference or corruption, balancing acts between stability and collapse, and the dance between continuity and uncertainty that pervades our existence.”

Pape’s newest series continues her focus on themes of instability, perception, and resilience. “My Anomalies series connects art, science, and personal experience,” she says. “Using this language of curiosity to recognize connections where I had barely sensed they existed is among the most thrilling and joyful aspects of what I do.”  

Noting her fascination with the ubiquity of geometry and patterns found in everyday life, “…in architecture, infrastructure, technology, fashion, and the nature and creatures found in every place,” Pape describes how her approach helps her think through her concerns about our times: “Facing mass extinctions, social inequity, teetering democracy, and a ravaging pandemic, anomalies offer me clues for contending with systems that verge on widespread cataclysm.”

In these works, at once intricate and elegantly simple in their form, Pape exploits the relationship between white pigment on black paper or paint, and the nuances and energy which infuse her limited palette are immediately striking. Deliberate traces of the human hand reveal her diligence in drawing line upon line, evidence of her impressive commitment. She modestly speaks of her process, a dialogue between intent and intuition, as “one of inconspicuous beginnings, an orderly accrual of incidentals, intrusions, and inklings.”

Pape’s repetitions of rectilinear elements, points of intersection and departure, lines, and angles present a complex assemblage of related units that imply systems of interrelated, emotion-charged ideas, sensations, memories, and impulses giving rise to behavior.

“I use repetition to divide and examine these things that mystify me,” says Pape. “The patterns of systems—biological and ideological—remain enigmatic, with erratic variables and forces constantly disrupting the most neatly ordered schemes.  Logic, perception, love, and uncertainty drive my curiosity. This is how I puzzle it out.”

Visit the Portfolio for more from the Anomalies series.

Visit June Kelly Gallery website.

This exhibition is made possible in part by the New York City Artist Corps Grant.

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