June Kelly Gallery presents Victor Kord:
Anonymous Collaborations, on view at 166 Mercer Street, from
December 2, 2016 through January 17, 2017. This body of
abstract paintings delves into the ambiguous intrigue of space and
While nothing is predictable about Kord’s
work, he does follow parallel paths when introducing a new
vocabulary of marks. In earlier work, Kord made no conscious
effort to find shapes to fit into his finite compositions.
Later, the shapes evolve from the conscious process of folding,
cutting and unfolding. In this new body of work, Kord says, “the
emphasis is on discovery rather than intuitive improvisation.
To an extent I let the painting paint itself and continue to be more
an explorer than inventor.”
“Shape is the actor, ground is the stage,
repertory theater the model; same cast, different plays. Think Orson
Welles, Mercury Theater!” Kord says, “Grounds achieved through
experimental and occasionally unpredictable processes provide a
counterpoint as well as a nesting space for appropriated shapes.
Inspiration comes by way of music and the compression of poetry.”
Kord continues to restrict the number of
colors in a given palette so that they do not cancel one another,
but rather play key supporting roles. In the painting titled Near,
space works optically as abstract, magical, extravagant, mysterious,
powerful and is sonorously enigmatic with depth and volume while an
opposing shape is static.
In the painting Tense forms coalesce,
disappear, and reappear only to lose themselves to the ground once
more. The space allows forms to float optically forwards,
backwards and against each other. The collaborative is seen in
terms of opposing forces: the vertical against the horizontal; light
against dark; hot colors against cold.
“I came to Yale expressly to study painting
with Josef Albers. I arrived as a figurative painter, but over
time, under his tutelage, became persuaded that abstraction was a
more challenging and progressive direction. In his color
course I came to understand the energy produced by color
relationships and to be selective in the determination of palettes.
Overall in his teaching he emphasized the primacy of intention
though he encouraged us to recognize serendipity and use it when
Albers was an unbiased and generous critic
though he tended to encourage a reductive approach. I'm not
primarily a colorist and certainly not a minimalist, but in my
recent works I incorporate elements of all that I learned from him.
Most influential of all is his admonition, “To follow me, be
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.