Alexander Gray Associates participates in the Art Dealers Association of America 2016 The Art Show, featuring work by Jack Tworkov.
ADAA: The Art Show
Park Avenue Armory, Booth A8
643 Park Ave, New York
Alexander Gray Associates presents paintings and drawings by Jack Tworkov (b.1900 – d.1982), selected from the artist’s “Knight Series” (1974–77). Embodying a key moment in the artist’s career, the series underscores the artist’s interest in geometry, mark making, and strategy by introducing patterns within a gridded composition based on the various possibilities of the knight’s moves across a chessboard.
The development of a conceptual approach to painting in his late work was a radical evolution in Tworkov’s practice. Already a pivotal figure in Abstract Expressionism, he was also one of the first to question the movement’s commodification, cult of personality, and absorption into academia. By 1965 he took an interest in elementary geometry and abandoned his spontaneous flamelike brush strokes, shifting to a less subjective and more controlled diagrammatic form of abstraction that he found to be “more creative than working in a completely nihilistic way,” where “the limits impose a kind of order, yet the range of unexpected possibilities is infinite.” In 1974 Tworkov began the “Knight Series,” exploring these issues of limits, systems, and intuition. In paintings such as Knight Series #5 (Q3-76-#6), 1976, and Knight Series #3, 1975, compositions adopt a familiar grid system with construction lines and structural points that provide a delicate but firm framework embellished with formulaic vertical strokes in rows filling out each square. Unlike the more structured drawings, the paintings’ loose, but regulated brushwork reveals his experimentation with planar illusion and geometric form, representing Tworkov’s belief that “planning does not exclude intuitive and sometimes random play.” For Tworkov, it was vital that the intersecting vertical, horizontal, and slanted lines that resulted from this technique still allowed the viewer to see the simplicity of the painting’s fundamental structure.
Related to strategy and war, Tworkov’s selection of the Knight icon is far from arbitrary. Taking an ardent position against the Vietnam War, Tworkov’s first painting in the series closely followed the fall of Saigon. Within the works, the metaphors of strategy and sequence serve as a response to the political climate, with compositions and processes where the artist favored logic and order over chaos and ambiguity. As art historian Lois Fichner-Rathus writes, “the derived patterns differ widely from work to work, just as the patterns of chess games differ. Still, they remain delimited by the confines of the game board as the rules that govern the movement of the pieces.” Works on paper, particularly 39 Continuous Knight Moves (NY 12-28-74 #6), 1974, and Knight Series - Pencil on paper #10 (Q4-75 #1), 1975, illustrate this process in formation, providing insight into the mechanism behind the large-scale canvases.
About The Art Show
Organized annually by the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA), The Art Show presents curated presentations by the nation’s leading fine art dealers, providing audiences a selection of works from the late 19th century through today.