Three Lines, One Square


Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York, U.S.
Photo credits: 5 Bridge Photography.

Exhibition text-
The works in Three Lines, One Square revolve around one of the most basic concepts in art: the line. Created at different scales and on different supports, each is comprised of a single line placed squarely at the center of the picture field and rendered in a restricted palette of black. Although the works appear to be simple brushstrokes at first, they are actually highly finished and exact interpretations of earlier acrylic studies. Copied faithfully down to the minutest detail, the paintings transform the artist’s original intuitive and spontaneous action into an intentional and precise gesture.

In becoming the subjectof the work, the lines are elevated from generative tool to conceptual vessel. No longer simple compositional elements, their isolation invites a new reading. The video Untitled (Car), for example, mimics the horizontality of the brushstrokes in the paintings, and hints at a parallel interest in landscapes. Yet despite their evocative simplicity and suggestion of various art historical motifs, the artist is insistent that the works are nothing more than paintings of lines. For him, they represent an attempt to create art using only the most fundamental tools and concepts available to the artist. The exhibition’s sparse installation similarly removes all extraneous elements to encourage the viewer to slow down. As in all of Ugarte’s oeuvre, prolonged looking and contemplation reward viewers with a privileged view of objects distilled to their fundamental elements, their true essences revealed.