American artist Robert Mangold (born 1937) may be one of the (albeit unjustly) lesser-known painters of his generation, but with his first ever UK show set to open in London this month, we’re hoping that this master of minimalism finds a few new admirers.
Mangold’s creative zenith came somewhere in the early 1980’s, marked by his ‘X, Plus and Frame’ paintings. Filled with bold, angular shapes and blocky, full-strength colours, this series became his signature and appropriately is the focus of the Parasol Unit Gallery’s salutary exhibition.
Mangold’s architectural training - along with his time as a lecturer in sculpture at Indiana University – is palpable throughout the multi-chromatic menagerie on show. The angular, constructed sense of his paintings - built to resemble X, plus and frame forms (hence the name) - are painterly manifestations of Mangold’s boyish passion for all things scientific.
Other inspiration for the sculptural paintings is cited as everything from Ancient Greek pottery to Renaissance frescoes - the eclecticism of Mangold’s paintings is subtly disguised by his seasoned hand.
Mangold may not have achieved the same renown as some of his colossal contemporaries including Dan Flavin and Sol Le Witt, but this is in no way due to a lesser artistic vision.
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Harriet Lloyd-Smith was the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.
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