center for contemporary non-objective art

Joan Waltemath

Although Waltemath’s drawing activities have always been an integral part of her paintings, she recently begun to create autonomous works on mylar combining colored pencils and letraset with diazo printing. Waltemath’s exhibition at CCNOA in 2000 played on the possibilities inherent in pairing. Interwoven in the individual works as well as the placement of these works, relationships of duality, polarity, doubling and dialectics were set up to explore simultaneously the boundary between singular work and installation. Where does 1 begin and two end? Where does 2 become one? Engaging a mathematical progressive series which functions rather as a catalyst than a system, Waltemath’s vertical drawings can be viewed as a contemporary realization of an ancient concern with proportion, its rhythms and its resonance.

"It may be coincidence that artist Joan Waltemath uses math in her drawings. On the other hand, who’s to say that surname didn’t contribute? Whatever the reason, the artist’s use of the Fibonacci and exponential number series to create a new type of grid drawing makes for a remarkable installation in Gallery Joe’s vault. In Waltemath’s drawings, instead of the march of tight, repetitive squares of a regular grid, you get an original non-standard crisscross system. It’s still orderly and stable, yet because the cells expand and contract with a generosity amounting to luxury (in a grid kind of way), there’s a hopefulness embodied in the work. The 15 grids were preprinted on milky white Mylar then partially filled in with shiny graphite or colored pencil rectangles creating works that might be architectural plans or drawings of electronic circuitry. They also look like stretched out, grisaille versions of Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie. But unlike Boogie, an ode to New York that’s all nervous energy and staccato rhythm, Waltemath’s drawings are slow and legato, like an urban pastoral. Mounted at regular intervals on the four walls, the long and narrow scroll-like works have the authority of a system. As a group, they evoke architectural columns—or the body as column, turning the vault into a kind of temple or tribal circle. But as with all good art, there’s other layers of meaning here. Indeed, Waltemath’s installation, which includes an abstract musical accompaniment composed and recorded especially for it, is rich in ways too numerous to count. This elegant visual play is enough to convert even the math-phobic." Roberta Fallon, Philadelphia Weekly, November 21, 2001

At CCNOA, Waltemath presented a selection of new, large and medium scale abstract drawings especially conceived for the two main galleries of CCNOA as well as her new multiple ’arrows eros eros arrows’.