Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to present Supercallefragelistic-expialledocious (Universal Color Part 1) Ricci Albenda’s sixth solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition marks the completion of Universal Color, a color system developed by Albenda over the past two decades.
In its original form, called COLOR-I-ME-TRY, Albenda paired the alphabetical and numerical systems with the color wheel. Vowels fall onto to the archetypal hues of the prismatic ROYGBIV spectrum: a = Red, e = Orange, i = Yellow, o = Green, u = Blue, and y finds itself between Indigo and Violet. Numerals occupy the magenta tones, connecting the end of the alphabet with its beginning to form a complete color wheel.
Universal Color takes the COLOR-I-ME-TRY system as its base, implementing this as a malleable, geometric shape that exists within a comprehensive three-dimensional color space. Scaling and shifting that shape throughout this space, this new system is able to generate innumerable variants on the original. Extending it limitlessly, the system can now be condensed to single colors, expanded across wider spectrums, and everything in between.
Previous exhibitions of Albenda’s paintings have taken the form of rigorously structured investigations into this system and its permutations. He has employed constraints ranging from the color of the sky, to sunrises, to distinct relationships to the exhibition’s architecture, and the color wheel. Graphic design was not a consideration; Albenda developed his own font to be used consistently throughout his work, and sought to keep focus on the words themselves. For Supercallefragelistic-expialledocious (Universal Color Part 1) Albenda departs from this model, experimenting widely and freely using the knowledge gleaned over the two decades of the system’s making. Each work becomes its own framework and site of inquiry, demonstrating a versatility, and more importantly, the sense of play inherent to studio practice. This celebration of the studio points not only to Albenda’s place in a lineage of painters who use words effectually as images, but also through the works’ subtleties and undulations, it harkens back to the rich explorations of color performed by painters that have defined the last century.
Comprising new paintings, and works on paper (in its widest sense), the exhibition encompasses not only a variety of formats, but also an abundance of the systems and subsystems Universal Color contains. Making works outside of his own font for the first time, Albenda begins to demonstrate the possibilities of the system’s implementation outside of his own practice, and its utopian bent. Simultaneously, his vernacular of phrases has been opened to include logos, both familiar and obscure, alongside the song titles and lyrics, quips, scientific classifications, and invented words that have defined his practice over the years. The imagined, real, and appropriated exist side by side; pointing towards the system’s future as one that is accessible by all.
Supercallefragelistic-expialledocious (Universal Color Part 1) will be followed by and exhibition of the systems wider implementation, Universal Color Part 2 in 2016. Ricci Albenda’s work has been exhibited extensively, both in the United States and abroad at venues including: The Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Rachofsky House, Dallas, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, Castello Di Rivoli, Turin, Museum of Modern Art, New York, MoMA PS1, Queens, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and the New Museum, New York.