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Parrasch Heijnen Gallery opens a career survey of Tony DeLap's work
Installation view.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Parrasch Heijnen Gallery, Los Angeles, and Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York, are presenting Tony DeLap: A Career Survey, 1963—2017. Each gallery presents iconic examples of sculpture, drawing, and painting from various periods throughout Tony DeLap’s six-decade practice.

In its New York space, Franklin Parrasch Gallery will include early mixed media sculpture and related drawings from the 1960s, formed paintings from the 1970s and 1980s, and shaped paintings from the 1990s to the present. Parrasch Heijnen is presenting a similar range of works in Los Angeles, as well as an architectural intervention not exhibited since DeLap’s 1972 solo exhibition at Nicholas Wilder Gallery.

DeLap’s oeuvre defies fixed categorization. Initially brought to the attention of New York gallerist Robert Elkon by Agnes Martin in the early 1960s, DeLap’s earliest exhibited works were precisely constructed painted aluminum sculptures that challenged viewers’ perceptions of positive and negative space. Having originally worked extensively with collage, DeLap’s sculptures of this time presented an idiosyncratic articulation of a layered space in a decisively Minimalist mode. By the mid-1970s, as his approach to object and architecture continued to evolve, DeLap was creating monochromatic shaped canvas paintings; soon thereafter he incorporated interventions of hard-edged, painted color in his canvases, effectively bending light by way of application of color.

At its core, DeLap’s work explores how the interaction of geometric shapes can create dimensionality and movement on static planes. In a 1980 essay, DeLap explains: “It is the discrepancy between the front edge or plane, and the back edge or plane, that is the primary content of the work. This discrepancy sets up an agitation with the wall and gives the paintings a somewhat unsettled physical appearance.” The illusionistic quality of his work is captivating, but it is the transcendence of the media with which DeLap chooses to work that stretches the viewer’s visual experience to new lengths. As Barbara Rose wrote in her 2014 essay Now You See It, Now You Don’t: “choosing to work with geometric form, [DeLap] focused on the elements of process and materials to establish a new critical language of visual exactitude…challeng[ing] and transcend[ing] the categorical differences between painting and sculpture….” The trajectory of DeLap’s longstanding concepts can be clearly observed in these surveys, pushing the ocular limits of perception of form and dimension across media.

Tony DeLap has exhibited extensively since 1963. His work resides in the permanent collections of Tate Modern (London), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), and Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts (Lausanne, Switzerland) among many others, and has been included in such landmark exhibitions as The Responsive Eye (1965: Museum of Modern Art, New York), Primary Structures (1966: Jewish Museum, New York), and American Sculpture of the Sixties (1967: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles). In February of 2018, the Laguna Museum of Art will mount a major retrospective of DeLap’s work dating from 1961 to present, curated by Peter Frank. A fully illustrated publication is forthcoming.

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