On ViewKinosaito Art Center
March 4–May 7, 2023
Upon entering a century-old brick building, known as the KinoSaito Art Center in Verplanck, New York, I came across a large open room that contained paintings and sculptures that stopped me in my tracks. The works on display were discretely mounted, either on the wall or on pedestals, allowing the organs of space to emerge in-between. As I resumed my peregrination through the old building I found the name Murray Hochman on one of the walls, an artist I did not yet know but was already fascinated by.
This is the kind of exhibition that pulls you through it. Each work holds its own significance in the original sense of the word. It offers the viewer a complexity that engenders thought on the cusp of delight. For a period of time, I had the clear advantage of being the sole visitor, thereby allowing the act of seeing to become an experience in itself. I was breathing the air of the exhibition, giving in to its understated regalia. These were formidable works poised in opposition to predictability. They gave this viewer very little to say. Still, I was taken emotionally by the triumvirate on the wall, namely, a large orange paint chip painting, Untitled 11 (2022), accompanied by two smaller versions of the same, Untitled 12 and Untitled 13, each of which was done in 2013. The grid-like status of each painting appeared similar, whereby a conflated geometry gave way to a stark brilliance—the color orange—with small vertical elements seemingly derived from the logos of Abstract Expressionism.
In comparison, the artist’s three-dimensional works occupied the overall space, projecting forms that partially reiterated one another. Here I refer to Hochman’s sculptural explorations that share identical materials and processes, thereby reflecting the concept of the still life as a systemic form. For example, Untitled 18 (2022) begins a series in which the materials are standardized as follows: plywood, aerosol cans, and aerosol paint. The second, Untitled 19 (2022), employs the same exact materials: plywood, aerosol cans, and aerosol paint. The third, Untitled 20 (2021), and fourth, Untitled 21 (2022), have the same. The fifth, Untitled 22 (2021), substitutes plastic for the aerosol cans, but continues to use plywood and aerosol paint.
In addition to Hochman’s paintings and sculpture, there are works on paper, also quite essential to the format that the artist has chosen to present. These would include earlier works, such as Untitled 17 (2004–13), aerosol paint and collage on paper, and Untitled 15 (2015–18) aerosol paint, marking pens, and collage on paper. The application and the results that emanate from the application are two different entities. The articulation of color and the coming together of form with color in these various works are extraordinary. They exude color with a subtle, yet unforgettable magnitude.
What I get from the work of Murray Hochman is a highly focused manner in which form and color are brought together within the context of a conceptual underpinning. Given his awareness of these concerns during the 1950s and 60s, which I would assume he understood perfectly, the work in his exhibition reveals a kind of sensory cognition whereby mind and matter come together with feeling and, for a better word, pleasure. Contrary to giving us another theory, we are blessed with an artist who instinctively knows the hidden revelation of what it means to make art.