June Kelly Gallery is pleased to present
Victor Kord: Making Ends Meet - abstract paintings reflecting
Kord’s bravado and serendipity with the plotting of space and shape
correlations. The exhibition will open on January 18, at 166
Mercer Street and remain on view through March 5.
Kord’s penchant with painting sundry novel
shapes in randomly assigned arrangement cross the canvas continues
to be unpredictable. In earlier work, Kord, approached his
work more as an explorer than inventor, for discovery and chance
were crucial in his process of finding and appropriating shapes to
fit into his compositional preference--the square.
Later, Kord’s shapes evolved from his
conscious process of folding, cutting and unfolding. Using the
technique of cutouts inspired by the paintings of Matisse, Kord
moved closer to invention, creating resistance to arbitrariness yet
in tandem facilitating the serendipity.
Kord, who, when queried about the exhibition
title for this current body of work, said, rather tongue-in-cheek,
The Usual Suspects, or to put it another way, Making Ends
Meet, unpredictably, and surprisingly, creates not merely shapes but
entire figuration arrangements. Independent compositions that
when aligned, prompt thoughts perhaps of dubious relationship.
Therein lays Kord’s bravado and serendipity, the coincidence that
emphasizes both discovery and intuitive improvisation.
In the juxtaposition of two capriciously
independent canvases, Mutabilis, 2018, forms float optically in each
canvas as if in complete abandon, and then seek the other in visual
exchange and ultimate attachment. Critical is the
collaborative, seen as fusing of opposing forces: the vertical
against the horizontal spread; light against dark; brilliant color
against cool, finite form against infinite space.
Kord who is neither primarily a colorist nor
minimalist creates forms that may appear simplified by their
reduction, not so. Color and form are central concerns of
shape-making and placement for Kord. Sensing color rather than
thinking it, Kord restricts color in a given palette so as to not
cancel one another out, but rather create “climate and personality.”
Kord writes, “My leading actor is shape,
idiosyncratic, provocative, occasionally comedic and not entirely of
my invention. I have a collaborator who shall remain
anonymous, upon whom I depend for my collection of “found” shapes.
I’m surprised by the cut-outs of Henri Matisse and the chance
operations of John Cage.”
Kord, in the beginning, was a figurative
painter, but over time, at Yale University, under the tutelage of
abstract painter Josef Albers (1888-1976), abstraction was found
more challenging and progressive. I call myself a “formalist
without borders.” The uniqueness of painting lays in its power
to make sensation hold still. Painting has its own voice and
needn’t borrow language or content from other disciplines.
Kord retired as a professor of painting at
Cornell University after a teaching career that spanned more than 40
years. He has shown his paintings extensively throughout the
country and internationally since 1967 at such venues as the Kathryn
Sermas Gallery, New York; André Emmerich Gallery, New York; Richard
Gray Gallery, Chicago, and The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art,
Ridgefield, CT. He has received many awards, including a
Guggenheim Fellowship. His work is represented in the
collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Cleveland
Museum of Art, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, and the
Madison Art Center of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, among