Air Condenser

Gary LaPointe Jr. and Clay Mahn

Air Condenser

  • Exhibition
© Offset Stacked Marker 3, Gary LaPointe Jr.—TT712, Clay Mahn

Native from Connecticut, Gary LaPointe Jr. lives and works in Chicago. He holds a BFA in fine arts from the Lesley University College of Art and Design and an MFA in sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2016). His sculptural practice questions social foundations by challenging architectural, spatial, and material constructs and the systems, relationships, and rituals within them. Since 2010, his work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Europe and Asia. He is also featured in the book 100 Sculptors of Tomorrow published by BEERS Gallery in London. His exhibition at Galerie B-312 marks his first exhibition in Canada.
Website of the artist

Native from Montana, Clay Mahn lives and works in Chicago. He obtained a BFA from the University of Montana (2012) before completing a master's degree in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017). As a painter, Mahn neglects iconographic processes to focus on surface, structure, and the frame's limits. With addition and subtraction, his paintings emerge from material, language, repetition, and form. His work has been featured in several individual and group exhibitions in United States, Australia and France. His paintings have also been featured in the publication New American Paintings (2016 and 2017). Air Condenser is his first exhibition in Canada.
Website of the artist

5 May 2023 to 23 June 2023

Galerie B-312 is pleased to close its season with Air Condenser by artists Gary LaPointe Jr. and Clay Mahn which marks the first time these Chicago-based artists have shown together and in Canada. This exhibition consists of new paintings, drawings, and sculptures that collectively explore the material notions intrinsic to the construction and transformation of the frame as form, and conceptual foundation.
Clay Mahn’s pictorial work, in its apparent minimalism, focuses on the constituent elements of painting. The process of mark-making on the surface takes precedence in his approach. Layers are superimposed, scraped, sanded, and re-sanded so that one does not easily grasp what is in front or behind, what is plan or image. His way of working questions the very object that is the painting; its structure. The matte and smooth finish of the surface of these paintings refer to the raw characteristics of the material without being devoid of sensuality. Through his compositions using scattered and repeated motifs or solidified lines reframing the margins, the artist questions the stability of the surface and edge of the painting while playing with our perceptions.
Gary LaPointe Jr.’s sculptures and drawings transform and redefine the structures and limits of their own material constructs, or the disruption or lack thereof. He collects and alters found objects that range in references from constructed and natural systems to language and the body. Using a variety of conceptual strategies and interventions, he challenges the functionality of these objects to explore the systems, relationships, and rituals within them. The critical perspectives of queering allow him to rethink concepts of identity construction through a visual language that seems a priori and far removed from these theories. Through shifting the use value of materials like concrete repair sealant, aluminium repurposed from a truck bed toolbox, and other utilitarian objects from the world of construction and logistics where traditional forms of masculinity still predominate, he manages to create refined works, with poetic evocation where raw materials are diverted in assemblies marked by delicacy.
Beyond their shared aesthetic affinities, the two artists have resolutely different approaches to material and process. The juxtaposition of their works generates new connections to the material systems and environments that surround us, and allows questions of the capacity of content and its container to unfold.