Aberrant Abstraction

Keltie Ferris · Chris Martin · Cordy Ryman · Agathe Snow

Aberrant Abstraction highlights four contemporary artists and their varying approaches to abstraction – often utilizing unorthodox materials, blurring the distinction between painting and sculpture, and referencing performance and site specificity. 

Keltie Ferris’s paintings appear as though they originate far from the computer screen, and yet their surfaces seem predicated on a kind of Windows-age logic.  Passages with varying palettes and textures hover next to, under, and over one another like different software programs, all open at the same time and yet designed to perform different functions.

According to artist Chris Martin, “I grew up in Washington, D.C. listening to black radio and Motown music. I loved James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, The Temptations, all that stuff. I actually decided that I was an artist, at age fourteen, while listening to James Brown. When he died, I was surprised how emotional it was for me. I began to take my James Brown records and glue them into paintings. I’ve been taking album covers and using photographs of him in paintings since.”

Unlike Postwar American abstract art that was revered for its independence of form, Cordy Ryman captures tactile, but not transcendental, beauty.  Green Wave (2007) features an array of long boards that are set at different angles along the gallery wall, creating both a physical and visual wave of color. Painted in shades of green on the front while hot pink coats the back, this work connects physical movement with a larger abstract idea.

New Yorker Agathe Snow’s approach to art is more a way of life than a studio practice, informed by personal circumstance, travel, current events, counter-culture, and a drive to engage with and stamp her imprint on the world at large. Often using objects she’s found on the street, her sculptures reconfigure the detritus of everyday life as deliriously apocalyptic monuments of societal breakdown.