Origins… Helen’s Dots

Paul Kolker is pleased to present Origins… Helen’s Dots at the PAUL KOLKER collection from January 25 through March 16, 2018. This solo exhibition of paintings, prints and sculpture, Kolker’s sixty-second, revisits the origins of the artist’s fascination with dots, circles and spheres while continuing to research the experimental psychology of perception; both on the ‘laboratory bench’ of his studio and in the ‘clinic’ of his adjoining gallery.
Paul Kolker: siemiatycze group, 2018 - © 2017 Paul Kolker. All rights reserved. Contemporary Artist NYC

Paul Kolker: siemiatycze group, 2018
acrylic on canvas
110 x 165 inches in six parts

Kolker says that his introduction to the dot was at age four, when cousin Helen taught him to write his Hebrew name with dotted vowels. Dots have also become Kolker’s artistic signature; with origins also attributed to Shinobu Ishihara, Ben Day, color halftone and the almost too small to see rectilinear grids of digital displays of televisions, computers and cell phones.

Helen escaped the Holocaust having emigrated from Siemiatycze, Poland to New York City before 1939. As depicted above in Kolker’s work, siemiatycze group, 2018, the canvas’ ground is covered with ishidots painted in relief and overlain with the artist’s painted grayscale gradient transformation of a late 1930’s photograph of a wedding-party of many of the artist’s maternal relatives. A solitary dot is painted red to identify Helen. and others remain as if embossed within the canvas to subliminally and mystically embellish the artist’s intent to memorialize those family members he never met; murdered at Treblinka.

The artist queries, “How does the viewer perceive the dots which we barely notice at four-thousand dots per inch on the new model display screens of our devices?”

Kolker, in his works and exhibitions, puts those dots right in front of your face to raise the questions about their physics and metaphysics; or their being real or imaginary. Although to Kolker the dot is already a media building block for everything digital; the dot also is both mystical and spiritual to the artist.
Paul Kolker: siemiatycze group, 2018 Detail - © 2017 Paul Kolker. All rights reserved. Contemporary Art New York City

Paul Kolker: siemiatycze group, 2018 (macro detail of underlying ishidots)
acrylic on canvas
110 x 165 inches in six parts

In this exhibition Kolker displays his dots using layered painting techniques as part of his experiments in perception. As in siemiatycze group, 2018 the ishidots are first painted on the canvas as a relief to disburse sculpted shadows of the dots. In other works, the dots are painted over the completed figural images. Both techniques test the viewer’s indirect perception by enabling the viewer to become part of the painting by inserting her imagination as to what is hidden or subliminal; i.e. evocative of a memory or message hidden in the art. Or even at the time of viewing the exhibition, becoming part of Kolker’s conformity experiment in which he simultaneously creates and curates his art.

Paul Kolker (b. 1935) is a New York based artist with doctorate degrees in medicine and law. He is Fellow American College of Surgeons, Fellow American College of Legal Medicine and Emeritus Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Northwell Glen Cove Hospital, having practiced cardiothoracic surgery on Long Island from 1969 to 2013. In October 2001 Kolker moved his Long Island studio to his current address in the Chelsea art district so that he could produce his works and curate his exhibitions as an experiment in perception. His studio and gallery have together become his laboratory in which the viewer is the measuring instrument for Kolker’s art as a perceptual experiment. Origins… Helen’s Dots is Kolker’s sixty-second solo exhibition.

In Paul Kolker: Origins… Helen’s Dots, sixteen works are on view from January 25 through March 16, 2017 at the Paul Kolker collection, 511 West 25th Street in Chelsea, adjacent to the HighLine between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues.

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