What is paradoxical about a sphere is that its measurable surface area is finite, while its surface is bound-less. So how can universal questions regarding boundaries and infinity be represented, and what formal means can be used to conduct this theoretical investigation? The New York-based artist Alice Attie uses the simple geometric form of the circle as a basis for her second comprehensive solo exhibition at our gallery in which she explores these themes from a complex, philosophical, and aesthetic perspective. Her drawings, which are defined by a playful poetics, involve time and space, science and philosophy. The small drawings in ink and colored pencil, with their delicate marks, present a delightful contrast to the large dimensions into which they unfurl. The multifaceted representations sustain their forms through the concentration and repetition of individual, gesturally applied lines or through geometric arrangements. These structures are composed of bits of information, letters of the alphabet, lines, or fractal forms, while their boundaries and transitions are rarely defined. The line is a gesture of inquiry that, as Attie notes, citing Victor Hugo, often pull us towards the infinite. The circle consists of an infinite line, which curls around itself. For Alice Attie “It is a form forming. A mathematical mystery. The circumference limits. The circumference is limitless. Our planet. An orb. Our home. Our lives, living and dying. The cyclical.”


Attie’s eye for detail can also be found in six small black-and-white photographs that were taken with a Rolleiflex from 1937 and direct our focus toward seemingly incidental things. These pictures of shimmer-ing landscapes are gestures in themselves. Grass, plants, and waves form delicate lines and structure while creating spaces made of light and shadow that balance precariously between the concrete and the abstract. According to Attie, “The camera has a strange way of calling our attention to everything. We see what we might not see otherwise. We pay attention. The wind was blowing and the flowers were swaying. The modest flowers. These photographs, the first of which I took on a windy summer day in the north of Iceland, then on the Italian coast, upstate New York, and in New York’s Central Park, concern the silent, the breath-taking, the sublime. Roland Barthes wrote profoundly about the notion of contin-gency and chance in photography. He noted how we find ourselves in what we see, in what the camera helps us to see. The contemplative. The intimate. Proximity and distance.”


Language and writing play a huge role in Attie’s visual works. She is also a poet and has published several volumes of poetry. Her works on paper are occasionally based on scientific and philosophical writings. In the works created during the classes of Professor Fred Neuhouser, on the subject of Jean-Jacques Rousseau from her Class Notes series, language acts as a reflexive structure, as the handwritten notes from lectures on the philosopher form long lines and change their direction, bump up against the margins, and bounce back. They enhance an increasingly dense network of thoughts and associations that lends philosophy, and its intellectual concepts, a visual form.

Alice Attie

Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor, 2018
gouache on paper, ink on paper
2 parts
73,5 x 58,5 cm (28 x 20 in.)
framed 78 x 63 cm (30 3/4 x 24 3/4 in.)
30,4 x 23 cm (12 x 9 in.)
framed 42 x 34,5 cm (16 1/2 x 13 3/8 in.)

Alice Attie

Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor, 2018
gouache on paper, ink on paper
2 parts
73,5 x 58,5 cm (28 x 20 in.)
framed 78 x 63 cm (30 3/4 x 24 3/4 in.)
30,4 x 23 cm (12 x 9 in.)
framed 42 x 34,5 cm (16 1/2 x 13 3/8 in.)

Alice Attie

Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor, 2018
gouache on paper, ink on paper
2 parts
73,5 x 58,5 cm (28 x 20 in.)
framed 78 x 63 cm (30 3/4 x 24 3/4 in.)
30,4 x 23 cm (12 x 9 in.)
framed 42 x 34,5 cm (16 1/2 x 13 3/8 in.)

Alice Attie

Where are you?, 2018
gouache, ink, colored pencil on paper
51 x 72 cm (20 x 28 in.)
framed 55 x 76,5 cm (21 5/8 x 30 in.)

Alice Attie

Where are you?, 2018
gouache, ink, colored pencil on paper
51 x 72 cm (20 x 28 in.)
framed 55 x 76,5 cm (21 5/8 x 30 in.)

Alice Attie

Stones, 2020
gouache on paper
76 x 56 cm (30 x 22 in.)
framed 81,5 x 61,5 cm (32 x 24 1/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Stones, 2020
gouache on paper
76 x 56 cm (30 x 22 in.)
framed 81,5 x 61,5 cm (32 x 24 1/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Disturbances, 2014
ink on paper
76,5 x 57 cm (30 x 22 in.)
framed 81,5 x 61,5 cm (32 x 24 1/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Tumbling Alphabet, 2020
ink on paper
76,5 x 58,5 cm (30 x 22 in.)
framed 81,5 x 61,5 cm (32 x 24 1/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Microcosmos, 2020
ink on paper
76 x 56 cm (30 x 22 in.)
framed 81,5 x 61,5 cm (32 x 24 1/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Planet glowing red, 2022
gouache on paper
76,5 x 57,5 cm (30 x 22 in.)
framed 81,5 x 61,5 cm (32 x 24 1/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Grey Earth, 2021
gouache on paper
77 x 58,5 cm (30 x 22 in.)
framed 81,5 x 61,5 cm (32 x 24 1/4 in.)

Alice Attie

On And On, 2021
gouache and collage on paper
76 x 57,5 cm (30 x 22 in.)
framed 81,5 x 61,5 cm (32 x 24 1/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Threading the circle 1, 2018
ink on paper
30,5 x 28,5 cm (11 1/2 x 11 1/4 in.)
framed 42 x 40,5 cm (16 1/2 x 14 in.)

Alice Attie

Threading the circle 2, 2018
ink on paper
31,5 x 29 cm (11 1/2 x 11 1/2 in.)
framed 43 x 40,5 cm (17 x 14 in.)

Alice Attie

Threading the circle 3, 2018
ink on paper
28,5 x 28,5 cm (11 1/4 x 11 1/4 in.)
framed 40 x 39,5 cm (15 3/4 x 15 1/2 in.)

Alice Attie

Threading the circle 4, 2018
ink on paper
30,5 x 28,5 cm (11 1/2 x 11 1/4 in.)
framed 42,5 x 40 cm (16 1/2 x 15 3/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Lady in waiting, still, 2019
colored pencil
73,7 x 58,4 cm (29 x 23 in.)
framed 78 x 63 cm (30 3/4 x 24 3/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Duet, 2020
gouache and ink on paper
73,7 x 58,4 cm (29 x 23 in.)
framed 78 x 63 cm (30 3/4 x 24 3/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Shimmering, 2018
ink on paper
59,5 x 46 cm (23 x 18 in.)
framed 71 x 57,5 cm (28 x 22 5/8 in.)

Alice Attie

Quivering, 2020
colored pencil
41 x 31 cm (16 x 12 in.)
framed 52,5 x 42,5 cm (20 3/4 x 16 3/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Turning Still, 2021
colored pencil on graph paper
29,2 x 20 cm (11 3/8 x 8 in.)
framed 41 x 32 cm (16 1/8 x 12 1/2 in.)

Alice Attie

Turning Still, 2021
colored pencil on graph paper
29,5 x 20,2 cm (11 1/4 x 8 in.)
framed 41 x 32 cm (16 1/8 x 12 1/2 in.)

Alice Attie

Turning Still, 2021
colored pencil on graph paper
25,5 x 18 cm (10 x 7 in.)
framed 37 x 29,5 cm (14 1/2 x 11 1/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Turning Still, 2021
colored pencil on graph paper
25,5 x 18 cm (10 x 7 in.)
framed 37 x 29,5 cm (14 1/2 x 11 1/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Professor Fred Neuhouser Rousseau 2.17.22, 2022
ink on paper
30,5 x 22,9 cm (12 x 9 in.)
framed 42 x 34,5 cm (16 1/2 x 13 1/2 in.)

Alice Attie

Professor Fred Neuhouser Rousseau January 27 2022, 2022
ink on paper
30,5 x 22,9 cm (12 x 9 inches)
framed 42 x 34,5 cm (16 1/2 x 13 1/2 in.)

Alice Attie

Professor Fred Neuhouser Rousseau 2.10.22, 2022
ink on paper
30,5 x 22,9 cm (12 x 9 in.)
framed 42 x 34,5 cm (16 1/2 x 13 1/2 in.)

Alice Attie

Professor Fred Neuhouser Rousseau 2.3.22, 2022
ink on paper
30,5 x 22,9 cm (12 x 9 in.)
framed 42 x 34,5 cm (16 1/2 x 13 1/2 in.)

Alice Attie

Untitled, 2019
ink on paper
57 x 77 cm (22 1/4 x 30 1/4 in.)
framed 61,5 x 81,5 cm (24 1/4 x 32 in.)

Alice Attie

Untitled, 2019
ink on paper
57 x 77 cm (22 1/4 x 30 1/4 in.)
framed 61,5 x 81,5 cm (24 1/4 x 32 in.)

Alice Attie

Land and Seascapes, 2014-2020
gelatin silver photograph, ed. 2/10
image 35,3 x 35 cm (13 7/8 x 13 3/8 in.)
paper 50,5 x 40,4 cm (20 x 16 in.)
framed 55,5 x 55,5 cm (21 3/4 x 21 3/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Land and Seascapes, 2014-2020
gelatin silver photograph, ed. 2/10
image 37,4 x 37,4 cm (14 3/4 x 14 3/4 in.)
paper 50,5 x 40,4 cm (20 x 16 in.)
framed 55,5 x 55,5 cm (21 3/4 x 21 3/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Land and Seascapes, 2014-2020
gelatin silver photograph, ed. 2/10
image 37,8 x 37,8 cm (14 7/8 x 14 7/8 in.)
paper 50,5 x 40,4 cm (20 x 16 in.)
framed 55,5 x 55,5 cm (21 3/4 x 21 3/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Land and Seascapes, 2014-2020
gelatin silver photograph, ed. 2/10
image 37,3 x 37,3 cm (14 3/4 x 14 3/4 in.)
paper 50,5 x 40,4 cm (20 x 16 in.)
55,5 x 55,5 cm (21 3/4 x 21 3/4 in.)

Alice Attie

Land and Seascapes, 2014-2020
gelatin silver photograph, ed. 2/10
image 40,5 x 50,5 cm (16 x 20 in.)
fpaper 46,7 x 55,6 cm (18 3/8 x 21 7/8 in.)
ramed 55,5 x 63,5 cm (21 3/4 x 25 in.)

Alice Attie

Land and Seascapes, 2014-2020
gelatin silver photograph, ed. 2/10
image 36,5 x 36,5 cm (14 3/8 x 14 3/8 in.)
paper 50,5 x 40,4 cm (20 x 16 in.)
55,5 x 55,5 cm (21 3/4 x 21 3/4 in.)

© Photo: Markus Wörgötter

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