Asymmetrical Symmetry, an exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist Landon Metz, is now on view through October 20 at Manhattan’s Sean Kelly Gallery. His latest body of work unveils a series of site-responsive paintings that were created to directly complement the massive, Toshiko Mori-designed art space.
Inside the 22,000-square-foot, white-box gallery, Metz has placed five distinct groups of paintings. Using the walls, floors, and even the ceiling as display spaces, Metz forces the viewer to contend with his unorthodox arrangement of the art. The architecture of the room, from its industrial concrete flooring to the white paint-covered mechanical systems overhead, is on full display as part of the artwork’s narrative, according to Metz.
“Here you’ll see that nothing is covered up in this room,” he said. “The natural tone of the primed canvas as well as the object on the canvas itself merges with the other panels and with the environment to become one. I wanted to emphasize the subtleties of the space so people could create their own authorship over the art.”
The pieces on display are rendered in four unique colors mixed by the artist using watered-down dye. Metz outlined the shape on every canvas and then poured the color into every figure, allowing the color to fill uniquely every time. Gravity forced the dye to create surface tension on the canvas and form different gradients within the shapes. Metz noted this material-focused painting method made him relinquish his own authorship over the art as well, especially since from a distance, the imperfections of the paintings aren’t as easily visible, but closer up the differences are more clear.
The show also highlights his tendency to paint between canvases, allowing one whole form to be articulated across two panels. By hanging the panels in a series, he aimed to enhance the framework of the room.
“It now becomes more of a choreographed dance when you enter the gallery and see the repetition combined with the negative space,” Metz said. “Even the columns become sculptural objects. The works aren’t just isolated to the walls, but the entire room becomes an object as well and contributes to the sound of the space.”
Metz likened the architecture to a musical composition with the panels laid out as long and short notes with breaks in between where the white wall takes over.
“I was working to create sounds that rise out of silence, kind of like the way architecture unfolds from something that was once nothing and becomes a form of measure we inhabit,” he said. “The rhythm in this gallery allows you to move freely throughout the space in a way that can be different from a traditional exhibition. There are preconditioned expectations as to how to act in a place like this, but I wanted people to have authority over it and choose where they want to go, even if they want to stand in the middle and take it all in.”
Metz’s meditative approach to painting allows his practice to be both concentrated and methodical, but without total control over the end result. As a new addition to the Sean Kelly Gallery, he’ll have the opportunity to create new works that further tell the story of the space.
Metz will lead a walk-through tour of the exhibition this Saturday at 11 a.m. with a live stream on the gallery’s Instagram Story.