June Kelly Gallery

Victor Kord

Victor Kord - XI, 2022 - Tempera and casein glue on cardboard, 10 x 15 inches

XI, 2022
Tempera and casein glue on cardboard
10 x 15 inches

Glue Works is an exhibition of new work on paper – small abstract paintings by Victor Kord that make clear the artist’s perceptiveness with space and shape correlations, as well as his cleverness with inventive crafting of materials.  The exhibition will open at the June Kelly Gallery, 166 Mercer Street, on January 12 and remain on view through March 2022.

Kord writes, glue works are the product of invention following personal re-invention precipitated by the Pandemic.  In these recent works my repertory cast, color, shape, and texture, play in a smaller theater, and operate in a more improvisational and exploratory manner.  As always, one thing leads to another, and, inevitably, my changing circumstances led to an interrogation of means and methods.

I re-imagined painting, and made a water based medium, a mixture of Elmer’s Glue and bottled tempera.  Brushes gave way to scrapers, sponges, scissors, and ketchup squeeze bottles. I remained invested in figure/ground composition, shape nudging its rectangular container, but found a fresh and unusual way to materialize my concepts.  There was plenty of wiggle room for serendipity in these meandering works, to set me on a course upsetting habit of mind and move
me in unfamiliar directions.

Kord referred to this body of work as “poverty of means … modesty of means.”  As he said these works reflect the attitude mindful of the outsider artist…using what material they had for making their art.  He cited the brilliance of Bill Traylor as inspiration.

Using Kord’s words, he positions shape to center stage, with color, texture, and pattern in supporting roles.  His inventiveness is evident when viewing the tempera and casein glue painting titled XI (2022), were initially, arrangement of two similar shapes prompt perceptual ambiguity.  His carefully planned configurations depict a lyrical geometric symbiosis viewable in multiple ways.  The bold pronouncement of form and color interaction extend the subject beyond the physical boundaries of the support.

These small works evidence a quote favored by Kord, wherein Henri Matisse spoke about, “…. an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or disturbing subject matter … a comforting influence, a mental balm – something like a good armchair.”  Perhaps these words were of psychological assist to Kord as he continued to work through the Pandemic.

Kord said, Josef Albers, my teacher, while at Yale, admonished us to be studious and modest. I believe the scale and scope of these paintings are in their way, a reflection of his example.

Kord retired as a professor of painting at Cornell University after a teaching career that spanned more than 40 years.  He has shown his paintings extensively throughout the country and internationally since 1967 at such venues as the Kathryn Sermas Gallery, New York; André Emmerich Gallery, New York; Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago, and The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT.  He has received many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship.  His work is represented in the collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Madison Art Center of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, among others.


Click on thumbnail for larger image.

Glue Work III - 2022 Glue Work IV - 2022 Glue Work I - 2022
  Glue Work XXX - 2022  


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