Throughout his career, the late artist John Urbain was concerned with the concept of matière — a French term emphasizing the visual and physical properties of materials. This is evidenced in the title of the current Urbain exhibit at BMCM+AC No Ideas But in Things, which comes from William Carlos Williams’ multivolume poem, Paterson. Urbain’s mixed-media work is immediately striking for its rich use of color and the rough applications of paper, fiber, glue and paint. Torn edges of neon paper collide in vast fields of ochre, brown and white. Wads of fiber are glued in bunches, paper is punctured, torn, chopped and glued into its rightful place. The compositions are wonderfully orchestrated in spite of their visceral application. In completion, Urbain’s work is aesthetically transcendent. Up through June 1 at Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, 56 Broadway.
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