Sara Kay Gallery is pleased to present Tension Between, a solo exhibition by Joseph La Piana, on view from April 3 to May 19, 2018. The exhibition will present a site-specific installation and works on paper from the self-taught artist’s Tension series, including various relief drawings on watercolor paper, vellum and chipboard.
Constructed of latex bands saturated in talc powder, La Piana’s Tension installations push the capabilities of static materials by testing its tensile strength and expandability. In 2015 the artist constructed a large-scale site-specific installation within an industrial warehouse in Red Hook that utilized 11,000 feet of yellow latex stretched back and forth across the space’s concrete structural pillars. La Piana further activated the space with an audio file of the latex bands snapping. “The first Tension Relief painting that I did clearly informed me of the capacity of the material, as it snapped with such kinetic force that it sent me to the emergency room. The audio component of the 2015 installation was meant to honor that force and remind the viewer that the installation is active, and the material is being stretched to the edge of breaking point,” said the artist.
In Spring 2019, together with NYC Parks and the Fund for Park Avenue’s Sculpture Committee, La Piana will unveil six monumental Tension sculptures constructed of polyurethane, silicon and rebar along the Park Avenue Mall from 53rd to 72nd Streets. The sculptures will be viewable from both sides of traffic and all buildings along the Park Avenue corridor. “The Tension sculptures that I have conceptualized for Park Avenue will engage, activate and interact with the surrounding environment. These living sculptures will absorb and expound the energy from one of New York’s most highly trafficked thoroughfares,” said La Piana.
“We are thrilled to build anticipation of the Park Avenue project by highlighting the Tension series— engineering feats that preserve the elements of tension in nature within a fixed artwork,” explained Sara Kay. “I’m especially excited to present La Piana’s works on paper as they serve as the blue-print, the DNA for the various stages of life leading up to the sculpture. They provide us with an understanding of how tension can work and be transformed in space.”