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"Do Si Do" by Warren Isensee, 2022

Hello Darkness, 2022, Oil on canvas, 40 x 40 inches

Fluidity and structure have been two guiding principles of Warren Isensee's art. While his work is abstract, he does not neglect a spiritual side of it. Coming from a family of craftsmen and evangelists, he describes his process as rooted in "classic modernist ideas with a spiritual twist." 

His latest body of work, comprising rectangular canvases filled with forms and colours, will be on view at the Miles McEnery Gallery starting this February. 

The New Body of Work

Warren Isensee has a unique approach to forms and colours. As his new paintings show, he is interested in the expansion of forms, resembling liquified fluid objects, where spill overs take symmetrical, mirrored shapes. One side of his paintings replicates the other, with titles that allude to sensations of touch, sound, and sight. 

These vibrant environments hold both the promise of movement and containment as if the artist himself was unsure where the forms he created could take him. Over his nearly three-decade career, Isensee combined his early experiences of technical illustrating and house painting in his meticulously constructed pieces that flow. 

The works are organic and technical at the same time, creating an energy field from pulses of colour and form. Executed with high precision, they show exceptional craftsmanship in adherence to symmetry that often culminates in free-flowing improvisations. 

Technical but also poetic, Isensee's pieces speak with inherent optimism, with lines and undercurrents happening behind the main motifs, supporting the fluid structures of the artist's imagination. 

Meet the Artist

Born in Asheville in 1956, Warren Isensee studied architecture at the University of Oklahoma before majoring in graphic design and painting. Isensee is the recipient of many awards for his work — in 1999, he received the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, and in 2007 the Purchase Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters after participating in the annual Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts.

His solo exhibitions include those at Danese/Corey, New York; Kevin Bruk Gallery, Miami; Massimo Audiello, New York; Miles McEnery Gallery, New York; Nina Freudenheim Gallery, Buffalo; Pamela Salisbury Gallery, Hudson, and Tricia Collins Contemporary Art, New York, NY.

Among his group shows are those at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York; College of Saint Rose, Albany; Elaine L. Jacob Gallery, Wayne State University, Detroit; Herter Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Museum of Contemporary Art, Buenos Aires; Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; and The National Arts Club, New York.

His work can also be seen in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin, Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Neuberger Berman Collection, New York, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, The Penn Art Collection, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, among others.

Warren Isensee at Miles McEnery Gallery

The exhibition of new paintings by Warren Isensee will be on view at Miles McEnery Gallery in New York from February 2nd until March 11th, 2023. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog featuring words by Charlotta Kotik.

— Eli Anapur