Works of art do not exist in isolation. Although they are created by artists in the studio as unique, individual expressions, once placed in a museum, gallery, or even a home environment, they take on a new meaning. In fact, one could imagine these artworks as guests at a party where context and conversation create connections and associations that change the way they are experienced.
Dennis Oppenheim's large-scale installations were very much a part of the radical reinvention of the late 1960s, created to challenge the strict formalism of twentieth-century sculpture. His works often are inspired by an uncomplicated idea like the energy expended by a drop of water splashing upwards. Keith Sonnier has also explored a wide variety of approaches to making sculpture, here using the medium of neon to draw in space with color and line. Ellsworth Kelly's elegant White Curve ably demonstrates the artist's abiding interest in the intersection of art and architecture in his unique approach to abstraction.
Donald Sultan continues his involvement with process and the grid, applying latex and tar to Masonite panels, here evoking a specific landscape freighted with its tragic history. Dan Christensen's bold geometries take pleasure in the sheer act of painting. In Willem de Kooning's painting, ribbon like strokes cascade in bands of vibrant color with passages of luminous white that veil but do not mask the painting beneath. While abstract, the forms hint at landscape and the body. Consistently working in a non-figurative vein, Jack Youngerman has explored intricacies of organic and geometric form. His shaped wooden panels operate in the blurred space between painting and sculpture. The pictorial organization of John Torreano's gem-studded plywood painting, P.M.'s Mum pays homage to the underlying structure of Piet Mondrian's early chrysanthemum drawings. Louisa Chase stacks rectilinear forms and then obscures them with expressive line.
"Minimal forms with maximal content," is how one writer described the work of Robert Gober, whose sculptures have the uncanny ability to imbue an object as ordinary as a sink with radiant layers of meaning. Ross Bleckner's Architecture of the Sky suggests the symmetry of a dome. The artist layers pigment to produce a structure in and of itself, evokes references as disparate as the architecture of the Pantheon and the ritual scarification of skin yet ultimately transcending the literal with the sheer beauty of the images. Throughout the installation of the Permanent Collection, the Parrish's sky lit galleries reprise the natural illumination favored by artists in their studios, bringing to light the many affinities among works of art when viewed together in the context of a collection.