Margaux Ogden: SPACE NEVER MOVED Opens Saturday At Rental Gallery

Margaux Ogden: SPACE NEVER MOVED Opens Saturday At Rental GalleryRental Gallery is proud to present Space Never Moved, an exhibition of new paintings by Margaux Ogden opening with a public reception on March 17, and remaining on view until April 18. With these new works, Ogden continues her exploration of acrylic on raw canvas, parsing gesture and palette to create tightly patterned, self-referential works. Ogden's singular approach strips the paintings to their bare essentials: paint, canvas, gesture-and within that, time.

In the past, Ogden used phrases and symbols as a painterly typeface, repeating pictographs and bits of often-redacted text in an act of encoded intimacy. Here, she reverses course, redacting the confessional language, leaving behind stark, meditative fields. Yet even though these new paintings lack discernable script, she has not simply erased the writing. It's the exact opposite: she is writing the erasure.

She paints on raw canvas because it gives her something to fight against, something with a tooth, a composition of its own. It is also unforgiving. There is no gesso to correct a spill; no amount of overpainting can provide color correction or obscure a slipped brushstroke. This tension powers her practice. It undergirds even the most relaxed works with a steely determination.

Both the palette and compositions relate to Ogden's ideas about self-restriction. Her colors are both concentrated in their tonal relationships, and diffuse in their concentration. Compositionally, these works play with the concept of painting as frame-a way to bracket, divide, emphasize and redact. Within the limits of the frame, Ogden deploys a small cast of gestures carried over from earlier stages in her practice, or cribbed from elsewhere in art history. Unexpectedly, several symbols are sourced from 18th-century Japanese woodblocks, a red herring for those still expecting narrative conclusiveness.

One mark repeats more than other, and, in those many appearances, establishes a routine. A line that loops, then crimps. Large and small, it is found across many of the paintings in the exhibition. It is a time signature. Since the raw canvas demands slow, deliberate brushwork, even the most free-seeming forms are painstakingly time-consuming. Ogden isolated the gesture as a stand-in for script-a type of ersatz cursive, a letter that could disrupt the geometric compositions, but wouldn't influence their meaning in the way language tends to do. Coincidentally, it resembles the copyediting symbol for remove.

Two of the large canvases consider this erasure most dramatically. With her most dramatic treatments of negative space to date, Ogden redacts the paintings itself. In one, two triangles of raw canvas encroach upon an hour-glass shaped composition, suggesting both a classical contrapose, and a firm, adamant X. In a final work, two jagged triangles of canvas push upward from the bottom, balanced by a similar shapes hanging from the top. Painting over the years has been allegorized as a window, but here it is both the curtains waving in the breeze, and the breeze itself.

Margaux Ogden (b.1983) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Nothing Had Yet Been Sacrificed at Embajada, San Juan (2016), Chekhov's Gun at LTD, Los Angeles (2015) and Down the Rabbit Hole, Freight & Volume, New York (2015). In 2018 she received the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. She was in residence at Yaddo in 2017, and at Skowhegan in 2011. She has an MFA from Boston University, a post-baccalaureate from Brandeis University, and a BA from Bard College.

Rental Gallery began in 2004 in Los Angeles as a way to bridge the New York and West Coast art communities, as well as to provide a venue for flexible and experimental programming, both by local curators and gallerists, and those from out of town. For more information, please visit

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