David Lusk Gallery | September 6–October 8
“The spare elegance of the way she puts down paint fascinates me. These works seem to vibrate with their own internal energy that she has been able to capture and put on canvas.” —David Lusk
In her newest body of work, Kit Reuther shifts toward a more architectural abstraction than she has explored before. She cites the constant construction in Nashville’s landscape when reflecting on this new direction. You won’t see a shotgun home or condo complex in these quiet and minimalist works, but the modularity of her compositions and the way that color creates weight echo, in her words, the city’s “architecture in action.”
David Lusk, owner of David Lusk Gallery where Weights and Modules opens on September 6, says of this series, “The spare elegance of the way she puts down paint fascinates me. These works seem to vibrate with their own internal energy that she has been able to capture and put on canvas.”
Reuther began working in abstraction around 2005, having been a realist painter prior. She shared how at that time, segmenting the elements of objects in space interested her far more than recreating a scene containing them. It could be solely color or shadow that piqued her interest. Reuther’s interpretation of composition came down to a focus on these facets, bringing her to the present, when a particular shade of white or studies in linearity can be the subject of a series. Lusk says, “Kit always impresses me by her ability to edit and consider her own work,” reflecting on her gradual shift from realism to increasingly minimalist abstraction.
Subtle gradations of color are central to Weights and Modules. Reuther “thinks in white,” and spending time with her artwork will remind one of the great variety our world offers even within this one color. On the whole, these canvases are filled with blues, purples, and greens—cool colors in quiet hues that appear consistently in Reuther’s oeuvre. They are introverted paintings, inviting contemplation from the viewer as much as they reflect the creator’s. Reuther says that “I am looking for ‘oddness’ of both color and composition in my work right now. Whites are never totally pure white, greens are soft and multi-tonal.” A few of these canvases feature a sand color that she has been trying to get right for years. Among these wide expanses of a given color, the canvas shows clear evidence of her hand at work on every inch. The “oddness” appears in small flecks of other colors and bits of texture left to remind us that an individual created these paintings.
In this series Reuther has incorporated a hallmark of abstract art—an unwillingness of the subject to stay put within the bounds of the canvas. Instead, color, brushwork, and line flow to the very edge of each piece, overflowing into our own imaginations beyond the physical limits of the work itself. In her own words, “The eye is forced to complete the extension” of the painting. Reflecting on this new trend in her work, Reuther says, “I am becoming more comfortable with overloading the canvas on the edges, while using negative or white space as a counterbalance. I have spent a lot of time looking at Rothenberg’s compositions, where objects appear to float near the edge of the canvas or enter the picture plane at strange angles.”
Strong, linear divisions are central to this series. Many works feature a curve reminiscent of more organic shapes from her previous sculptures. Reuther acknowledges how a line, shape, or idea can carry over to manifest in different ways for years. Far more important to this series, and indicative of her current direction, is the triangle. Non-white colors bound in space by strong, angular lines consistently weight the bottom of these paintings. Reuther suggests that this weighting may point back to the idea of a sculpture’s base or a building’s foundation. Although architectural lines are a hallmark of this series, none are actually created with a straightedge. While the division between two fields of color is clear, the dividing line itself is fuzzy and indefinite, leaving the evidence of Reuther’s hand and creating the internal energy that Lusk identifies.
Reuther has also created sculptures for Weights and Modules, very rectilinear in their modularity, with precise lines and angles. She has created new boulder sculptures as well, a subject that takes her naturally from organic to architectural inspiration. They are multifaceted and clean, beautiful in their geometry, gemstones in metal. When visiting the exhibition, notice the symbiosis between these two media. The cool metal sculptures readily converse with the surrounding paintings with regard to color, shape, and the division of space.
Weights and Modules is on view at David Lusk Gallery September 6 through October 8. An opening reception is slated for September 10 from 5 until 8 p.m. For more information, please visit www.davidluskgallery.com and www.kitreuther.com.