Alan Saret
April 21–June 4, 2022

22 East 2nd Street
New York, NY, 10003

Karma is pleased to present Allies, a solo exhibition of sculptures and drawings by Alan Saret. The show is on display at the gallery’s 22 E 2nd Street location. 

In a light-filled studio in South Williamsburg, Alan Saret studies the thin web that an intruding insect had spun across the spines of a cactus. The constellation of almost invisible threads harmonizes with the sculptures of wire arranged around the room—hanging from the ceiling, tacked to walls, and stretched across the floor. 

This is where Saret has lived and worked for more than forty years, where he has relentlessly meted out his artistic practice and personal philosophy, influenced by his travels in India, his study of spirituality from around the world, geometry and environmentalism. Saret creates sculptures with flexible materials, composed of wire and other “non-art” mediums, alongside colored pencil drawings, time pieces and language studies.

Saret focuses on the ways inorganic materials can seemingly take on organic qualities, a focus which elides easy definition within the art world. Sculptures are representative, but not by artist intent alone. In Flame Aura (1986), hundreds if not thousands of brilliant wires are looped repeatedly. The sculpture was never intended to be representational, rather its form flowed from the chorus of loops, to become like a tongue of flame. Similarly, in Zinc Cloud, (1967/1990) sheets of chicken wire, folded over one another imbue a sharp and angular material with lightness. For Saret, archetypal methods of joining materials, such as looping, twisting and knotting, unlock infinite possibilities. Wire networks emerge with an organic logic, recalling chemical bonds, synapses, and constellations, among many others.

To Saret, these sculptures develop intimate alliances with the space in and around them, and with each other. It is as if Saret conjures life from his inanimate materials: this process can be described as “ensoulment,” a term he has used in titles of numerous works on paper.

In his drawing, Saret is similarly attuned, searching for a balance between spontaneity and artistic intent. In the process of “gang drawing,” Saret grips a “gang” of colored pencils. His movements with the pencil are as elemental as his sculptural construction methods, at times sweeping across the paper, or making angular, geometric marks, other times rolling the pencils in his hand, producing clusters of marks. In this encounter, order and chaos engage. The pencils seem to have a will of their own. Saret can choose the color and paper, but, as in all of his work, he divests himself of total artistic control—instead, he becomes a participant in a life cycle of the material and spiritual world; a student of its rhythms and secrets. 

The exhibition will be accompanied by a new publication of Saret’s poetry, Alphabetaka, and a reprint of Alan Saret: Matter Into Aether, (1982) which features an essay by Klaus Kertess.