New York

Richard Fleischner

Max Protetch Gallery

Richard Fleischner also works with basic forms—in whole suites of drawings. But his interest is less in image than in structure, less in the primal than in the primary. Though they do resemble houses, cages, corrals and the like, the forms in Fleischner’s drawings are not laden with associations. And yet it is significant that images of this sort are among the first that we draw as children, for these drawings investigate our first intuitions of representations.

The investigation is fundamental—how do lines define planes that in turn form volumes that construct space? Extended form, marked space, parameters and limits—these are the concerns of the drawings. Despite the interest in primary structures, these concerns are closer to those of earthwork art than of Minimalist sculpture.

But the drawings are about drawing; though notational, they are not studies for work in some other form. Traditionally drawing is the medium of experiment and discovery, of intuition and recognition. And so it is here. In one drawing, the very act of representation is revealed as a series of intuitive steps. Fleischner draws a shape (nearly a triangle), superimposes a rectangle, places another, smaller rectangle inside the first, and thereby conceives a cube—which recapitulates the process. From intuitive mark to rational construct, from first line to final perspective, the act of drawing is rehearsed, and we recall or relearn our first apprehension of the world through formal representation. The other drawings reveal similar processes with other forms. For example, one begins with a stepped column, that becomes a series of walls, that ends as a walled enclosure.

As a ground for these volumes, the paper of the drawings in effect becomes an open space—like a tabletop or a field. This thought calls to mind Fleischner’s site-specific works, one of which, entitled The Baltimore Project, is documented in this show. Like the drawings, it is concerned with how space is marked, enclosed and extended, and read. It is, in effect, a drawing in or on landscape.

Hal Foster