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Press Release

NEW YORK—The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of drawings and collages by Burgoyne Diller, on view from 6 September through 13 October 2001.

Burgoyne Diller (1906 — 1965) was among the most significant American artists working in the area of geometric abstraction. His work evolved from Cubist inspired landscapes to progressively more abstract styles as he experimented with European modernist traditions. Diller was an important member of the American Abstract Artists group in the 1930s and directed the W.P.A. mural division of the Federal Art Project in New York from 1935 to 1940.

This exhibition will include drawings and collages from 1960 to 1963, a period during which Diller was at once working within the parameters of geometric abstraction while developing a highly subjective, personal style. His compositions from the period belie a rationalized, radically simplified approach to the organization of the picture plane, with suspended elemental shapes interacting over a black or dark gray surface. Yet they are as much intellectual constructions as the results of an intuitive creative process. Diller said in an interview, “After all, you can’t eliminate this feeling you have for the total thing… If you’re thinking on one hand of the intellectual resolving of a problem – after all, the visual thing is quite something else. It’s certainly not an intellectual process; it only relates to it…” [1]

Diller grouped these works within three visual themes: First Theme works, with free-floating rectangles; Second Theme works, based on rectangles in a grid; and Third Theme works, featuring rectangles dynamically interacting within a complex grid. As preparation for a painting, Diller would draw a charcoal grid in which he would collage colored paper strips. Similarly, the drawings, consisting of rectangles in primary colors over soft pencil designs, manifest the pared down, hermetic aesthetic Diller was pursuing in his painting and sculpture.

Concurrently with this exhibition, the Paula Cooper Gallery will present sculptures by Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt and Joel Shapiro. For information, please contact us at (212) 255-1105.

This exhibition has been organized in cooperation with Olivier Renaud-Clément.

1. Philip Larson, Burgoyne Diller: Paintings, Sculptures, Drawings, exhibition catalogue, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1971, p. 11.

For more information, please contact the gallery: (212) 255-1105 or