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Of Prepositions by Joan Levinson

Opening 5 April, 2018, 7:00 - 10:00 pm

Visit by appointment until 3 May 2018

In English, prepositions are used to establish relationships. They demonstrate or clarify temporal and spatial relationships and connections. And they are the subject of one of the stodgiest rules in English grammar (which everyone should feel free to break)—“Never end a sentence with a preposition.” The paintings in this exhibition each include a single preposition, and they elevate the position of these small, supportive words to one of greater importance. Focusing attention on such simple words reminds us of the critical role they play in our language, not unlike creating a still-life painting of an apple or a vase.

My minimalist paintings are a confluence of art and language. In my work, I explore the structure of language and linguistics, as well as the similarities between the creation of visual and literary arts. Building sentences and telling stories is both a narrative and visual experience. I take advantage of the skills I’ve learned as an editor and writer to “Omit needless words,” as William Strunk advised, advice that applies equally to language and paint.  Much as Gertrude Stein used words as objects in her writing, I am using both words and paintings as objects. At the same time, I am very interested in painting technique and pay much attention to the physical qualities of pigments and oil media. My paintings often have thirty or more translucent layers of paint, offering a complex surface that is filled with light. More than support surfaces upon which an image exists, the shaped canvases emphasize the "objectness" of the work and all its elements.

Joan Levinson was born in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. She moved to New York in 1990 and now has a studio in Brooklyn, New York. She has exhibited widely, in both commercial and non-profit venues, in the U.S. and Europe.

Beyond, 2018, 12 x 11 x 3 7/8", oil on canvas

Into, 2018, 12 x 12 x 3 7/8", oil on canvas

Among, 2018, 12 x 14 x 3 7/8", oil on canvas

By, 2018, 12 x 10 5/8 x 3 7/8", oil on canvas