OLI SIHVONEN
Kinetic Energy

January 27 - March 3, 2018
Opening reception, Saturday, January 27 4:00 - 8:00 PM

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Sihvonen dedicated his career to understanding color and color interactions and combining that with his interest in math and Set Theory and observations of rhythm, beat and pattern progression from music and dance to create the sensation of movement in a two-dimensional painting.

David Richard Gallery is pleased to announce the upcoming presentation, Oli Sihvonen, Kinetic Energy at the Gallery’s newest venue in Harlem, located at 211 East 121st Street, New York, NY 10035, P: (212) 882-1705. This is the gallery’s second solo exhibition for Sihvonen and his first in New York since 2005. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, January 27, 2018 from 4:00 to 8:00 PM and the exhibition will remain on view through March 3, 2018. A digital catalogue will be available online.

Sihvonen’s entire career was committed to painting. His interests and intense explorations were primarily focused in two areas: first, the interaction of adjacent colors and their effect on visual perception in humans; and the second, creating the sense of movement in a two-dimensional painting.

The gallery’s first solo exhibition for Sihvonen, In Motion, in 2014 presented eleven paintings produced by the artist from 1988 to 1991, the last body of work prior to his death in 1991. The paintings were the result of Sihvonen’s research from two grants awarded by the Pollock-Krasner and Gottlieb Foundations for studying multiple approaches to creating motion in painting. The current exhibition, Kinetic Energy, presents those approaches and selections of his earlier series of paintings from the 1960s, 70s and 80s that provide glimpses of his early thinking on the subject matter. The exhibition consists of 32 works of art including 15 paintings and numerous studies on canvas and panel as well as very early drawings and writings by the artist.

Sihvonen studied at Black Mountain College from 1946 to 1948. There, he studied color theory with Josef Albers, was inspired by the thinking of architect Buckminster Fuller and developed important friendships with the composer John Cage and dancer/choreographer Merce Cunningham. Those relationships proved to be very important and influential throughout Sihvonen’s career and his quest for creating motion and movement in painting. The use of elliptical shapes in his paintings in the 1960s, combined with his knowledge of color and how certain combinations of adjacent colors created a vibrational effect in the ellipses, became the foundation for his studies and approaches.

 

Math and Sihvonen’s interest in Set Theory gave him a framework for organizing and leveraging his compositional elements—ellipses in the 1960s, stripes and grids in the “3 x 3” and “4 x 4” series in the 1970s and the “ladders” in the 1980s. He had already been incorporating the “concepts of time to painting” by exploring “notions of multi-temporality” from his knowledge of jazz music and dance, such as rhythm, beat and flow as well as mathematical concepts of arithmetic and geometric growth patterns. However, the real breakthrough came when Sihvonen realized the need to incorporate “interval and displacement” in his approach and compositions. Thus, the process of combining his various sets of compositional elements, in their entirety or fragments thereof, with his knowledge of color theory, as well as the introduction of fine black lines with subtly varying thickness and spacing to replicate the static from black and white analog television, created the perfect storm of composition, chaos and unexpected elements of chance to yield the dynamic compositions and illusion of movement in the two-dimensional picture plane.

 

About Oli Sihvonen:

 

Oli Sihvonen, an abstract hard-edge painter, spent his career studying the interaction of geometric shapes, surfaces and the adjacency of colors and how those combinations influence visual perception. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and after World War II studied at Black Mountain College where Josef Albers was a major influence and source of inspiration. After Black Mountain he lived in New Mexico and then painted murals in Mexico for a year. Sihvonen moved back east to Washington, D.C. and New York, teaching at Hunter College and Cooper Union. He returned to New Mexico in the late 1950s, inspired by the light, serenity and heroic landscapes, he painted his large canvases and diptychs in Taos. During the New Mexico years, his career took off on the east coast with his paintings included in seminal exhibitions such as Geometric Abstraction In America, 1962, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Formalists, 1963, The Washington Museum of Contemporary Art, Washington, D.C.; and the legendary Responsive Eye in 1965 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, with the latter also purchasing one of Sihvonen’s Elipse paintings for their permanent collection. His artwork was featured in exhibitions at Betty Parson’s and a solo show at the Stable Gallery. Sihvonen returned to New York in 1967 where he continued to explore geometry and optical effects in painting and their impact on visual perception. 

Oli Sihvonen was a recipient of grants from the Pollack Krasner Foundation in 1988, Adolph and Ester Gottlieb Foundation in 1985 and two from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1977 and 1967. His artwork is included in the permanent collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, Rockefeller University, New York, NY, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, TX, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA, Ashville Art Museum, Ashville, NC, Albuquerque Museum of Art, Albuquerque, NM, Black Mountain College Museum, Ashville, NC, University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque, NM, Brandeis University, Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA, Harwood Foundation Museum of Art, Taos, NM, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM, New York State Art Collection, Albany, NY, Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell, NM and Worchester Art Museum, Worchester, MA among others.

Oli Sihvonen 3 on Green (116) Oil on canvas 1963 81 x 17 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
3 on Green (116)
Oil on canvas
1963
81 x 17 inches
CALL FOR PRICE  
Oli Sihvonen Study _337 Acrylic on panel c 1970 11.5 x 13.5 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Study #337
Acrylic on panel
c 1970
11.5 x 13.5 inches
$5,000  
Oli Sihvonen Study _331 Acrylic on unstretched canvas c 1970 8 x 8 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Study #331
Acrylic on unstretched canvas
c 1970
8 x 8 inches
 
Oli Sihvonen Study _327 Acrylic on unstretched canvas c 1970 10 x 7.5 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Study #327
Acrylic on unstretched canvas
c 1970
10 x 7.5 inches
 
Oli Sihvonen Study _324 Acrylic on unstretched canvas c 1970 5.5 x 15 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Study #324
Acrylic on unstretched canvas
c 1970
5.5 x 15 inches
 
Oli Sihvonen Study _322 Acrylic on unstretched canvas c 1970 10.5 x 10.5 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Study #322
Acrylic on unstretched canvas
c 1970
10.5 x 10.5 inches
 
Oli Sihvonen Untitled (89C) Oil on board 1978 18 x 12 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (89C)
Oil on board
1978
18 x 12 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Untitled (89B) Oil on board 1984 17 x 13 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (89B)
Oil on board
1984
17 x 13 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Untitled (294) Oil on board 1980 11.25 x 18 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (294)
Oil on board
1980
11.25 x 18 inches
$6,000  
Oli Sihvonen 3 x 3 Blue_ Ochre_ Orange (240) Oil on canvas 1975 30 x 30 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
3 x 3 Blue, Ochre, Orange (240)
Oil on canvas
1975
30 x 30 inches
$17,000  
Oli Sihvonen Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend (319) Acrylic on paper 1989 7 x 18.25 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend (319)
Acrylic on paper
1989
7 x 18.25 inches
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Oli Sihvonen 3x3 (blue_ tan_ red) (160) Oil on canvas 36 x 36 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
3x3 (blue, tan, red) (160)
Oil on canvas
36 x 36 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Elegy (017) Oil and acrylic on canvas 1988 60 x 68 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Elegy (017)
Oil and acrylic on canvas
1988
60 x 68 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Untitled (069) Oil and acrylic on canvas 1988 66 x 70 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (069)
Oil and acrylic on canvas
1988
66 x 70 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Untitled (003) Oil on canvas 1991 90 x 72 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (003)
Oil on canvas
1991
90 x 72 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Mobius Mode (071) Oil and acrylic on canvas 1989 96 x 68 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Mobius Mode (071)
Oil and acrylic on canvas
1989
96 x 68 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Fugue (004) Oil on canvas 1988 90 x 72 at David RIchard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Fugue (004)
Oil on canvas
1988
90 x 72 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Untitled (076) Oil and acrylic on canvas 1988 72 x 82 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (076)
Oil and acrylic on canvas
1988
72 x 82 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Matrix (135.2) Oil on canvas 1968 84 x 76 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Matrix (135.2)
Oil on canvas
1968
84 x 76 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Untitled (307) Ink on paper 22 1_2 x 28 1_2 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (307)
Ink on paper
22 1/2 x 28 1/2 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Untitled (45) Oil on linen 1986-91 45 x 45 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (45)
Oil on linen
1986-91
45 x 45 inches
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Oli Sihvonen 4x4 (172) Oil on canvas 1969 30 x 30 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
4x4 (172)
Oil on canvas
1969
30 x 30 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Study _334 Acrylic on unstretched canvas c 1970 15 x 6.25 at David RIchard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Study #334
Acrylic on unstretched canvas
c 1970
15 x 6.25 inches
 
Oli Sihvonen Study _326 Acrylic on unstretched canvas c 1970 10 x 8.5 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Study #326
Acrylic on unstretched canvas
c 1970
10 x 8.5 inches
 
Oli Sihvonen Untitled (87C) Oil on board 1987 18 x 12 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (87C)
Oil on board
1987
18 x 12 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Untitled (44) Oil on canvas 1983 55 x 37 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (44)
Oil on canvas
1983
55 x 37 inches
$24,000  
Oli Sihvonen Untitled (261) Acrylic on board 1974 16 x 16 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (261)
Acrylic on board
1974
16 x 16 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Untitled (260) Acrylic on board 1974 16 x 16 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (260)
Acrylic on board
1974
16 x 16 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Untitled (267) Oil on board 1967 28 x 12 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (267)
Oil on board
1967
28 x 12 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Ladder (9) Oil on canvas 1984 68 x 72 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Ladder (9)
Oil on canvas
1984
68 x 72 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Untitled (305) Ink on paper 22 x 30 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (305)
Ink on paper
22 x 30 inches
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Oli Sihvonen Untitled (314) Ink on paper 1963 22 1_2 x 28 1_2 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (314)
Ink on paper
1963
22 1/2 x 28 1/2 inches
$5,500  
Oli Sihvonen Untitled (311) Ink on paper 1961 22 x 28 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Untitled (311)
Ink on paper
1961
22 x 28 inches
$5,500  
Oli Sihvonen Ladder (164) Oil on canvas 1985 40 x 36 at David Richard Gallery Oli Sihvonen
Ladder (164)
Oil on canvas
1985
40 x 36 inches
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