HOW THINGS ARE
To kick off its sixteenth season, which will focus on living women artists, MINUS SPACE is excited to present the solo exhibition Leslie Roberts: HOW THINGS ARE. In the Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, she presents a group of new diagrammatic paintings that deepen her investigation into ephemeral language and color abstraction.
Leslie Roberts’s new rule-based paintings “reflect how things are, in my life and in the world,” and are visual/verbal hybrids containing handwritten lists of words and phrases that are algorithmically translated into geometric color structures. According to the artist, “lists are the most basic form of writing,” and Roberts collects and catalogs ambient language from diverse sources, such as signage, travel directions, text messages, product labels, acronyms, email, licensing agreements, and field guides. Inventories, for instance of bird species or poetic forms, are quietly evocative, while other lists are “mismatched lexicons full of absurd non-sequiturs.”
Working in a variety of media, including acrylic gouache, ink, and pencil, on slender MDF panels, Roberts transcribes these indexes of contemporary vernacular into columns of handwritten letters. Each item on a list is assigned a particular color and mark. Individual letters in words are subsequently laid out along gridded axes as lines, shapes, clusters of dots, and other inventive forms, creating trembling, overlapping geometric patterns visually akin to ancient hieroglyphics, digital code, woven textiles, or musical scores. Roberts’s paintings ultimately function as diagrams of their own making.