Art itself abstracts from its surroundings, drawing inspiration from nature, people, places and things. It begins with a concept or an idea, created and crafted to form a piece of work capable of being seen in ways unique to each viewer. But what about art as the subject itself? This is a question artist Adel Gorgy endeavors to answer, daring to touch the sacred thing that should not be touched, to create unique, abstract works from re-visualized fragments of artists like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Andy Warhol. Now on view at the Kellenberg Gallery at Molloy College, “Abstracting Art…A Way of Seeing” showcases 16 of Gorgy’s large scale, innovative photographic works that rethink art itself.
“In poetry, you can break a poem down into words and use the words to construct a new poem. You can take the words and break them into letters to form new words. Why not art?” Gorgy said.
Romare Bearden Riffs at the Hofstra Museum
Recalling the portrait Madame Cézanne on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gorgy said he loved the brush strokes that evoked a sense of tenderness and offered beautiful details. He asked himself how we could look at these things without looking at the face of the woman. “If I remove the face, I can look at all of the energy and emotion behind the painting,” he said. “Abstraction gives you a tremendous freedom.”
Blurring the lines between photography and painting, Gorgy said he developed his own technique to use various pieces of art as his subject to create his own new concept. Part of his method included taking multiple photos of the subject from different angles—50 to 100 photos each—then breaking them down and reconstructing them into a completely new image. This visual culmination is on display as part of his exhibition, including pieces titled Conversation with Pollock, My Meeting with Warhol, Sonnet for Love (a combination of Pollock and de Kooning) and other works containing what Gorgy called “traces” of the respective artists.
In addition to loving each of these artists’ respective styles, Gorgy chose them because they once shared his environment along the coasts of Long Island and for what their work means in the context of his own. “Pollock’s work is an abstraction of an imaginary landscape that exists only in his mind,” reads part of Gorgy’s artist’s statement. “It is a vision executed through ‘action painting’ that encompasses time and chance, a mixture of accident and intent. Where he aims his paint is one thing; where it actually falls is another.”
The morphing of lines and the addition of texture and color in de Kooning’s art is a visual suspension of disbelief for Gorgy, while Warhol’s ability to make art from the ordinary and challenge the expected is something he finds fascinating and inspiring. Thinking of the work of all three, Gorgy is reminded that though what he sees may not necessarily be what these artists had intended, it is essential in his personal journey as the viewer.
“In abstraction the work moves what is inside you,” Gorgy explained. “We see ourselves more than we see the work. That’s why I say there are always two separate journeys. The journey as an artist ends when I complete the work, then it is the journey of the viewer. They can see it any way they like.”
Gorgy’s work has been shown in museums and galleries in the Hamptons, New York City, across the United States and in France, England, Italy, Singapore and Seoul. This show, curated by Kellenberg Gallery director of archives and art gallery director Larissa Woo and assistant archivist Emily Antoville, is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9am to 8pm through April 29. The Artist’s Reception will take place on Friday, April 20 from 4pm to 7pm.