Connect With Us Soho Broadway.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive helpful updates, latest news and events in the SoHo Broadway community.

We are

Magdalena Keck Gallery x Henrybuilt Present “Joan Waltemath: Relational Ambience” in Soho

By Magdalena Keck Gallery

Artists Reception @ Henrybuilt – SoHo Cultural Events

Exhibition Features Select Paintings and Drawings from the Artist’s Torso Roots Series Correlating Architecture and Painting

Joan Waltemath: Relational Ambience
August 26 – October 17, 2019

12 Crosby Street
New York, NY 10013
Monday – Friday, 11 am to 6 pm / Weekend by appointment only

Opening Reception: Wednesday, September 11

Event will include a conversation to explore intersections between architecture, design, and fine art in celebration of the exhibition

Moderator: Sarah Amelar, Architect, Journalist, and Contributing Editor, Architectural Record

Scott Hudson, Founder and CEO, Henrybuilt
Magadalena Keck, Gallerist and Interior Designer
Joan Waltemath, Artist

Wednesday, September 11
Reception: 6 pm
Conversation: 7 pm

New York, N.Y. — Magdalena Keck Gallery will present Joan Waltemath: Relational Ambience at the Henrybuilt showroom in Soho from August 26 through October 17, 2019. The exhibition, which will feature select drawings and paintings from the artist’s Torso Roots series, will be on view from 11 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday and on weekends by appointment only.

This particular series of Waltemath’s paintings, many of which take years for the artist to complete, were done in a range of materials including oil, graphite, and various metallic and fluorescent pigments on aluminum panels. The pieces are vertically oriented and based on a grid derived from mathematical relationships. Grappling with the complex and often contradictory relationships between the body and mind, the abstract paintings look to mathematical equations for their harmonious and inventive grid-based compositions. Due to the reflective and absorbent nature of the pigments the artist chooses, new details emerge from the works as they are viewed from different perspectives and at various times.

The exhibition also will include a set of drawings that Waltemath completed as various studies in advance of the paintings. Waltemath, who taught architecture at Cooper Union for many years and also has written about art extensively for The Brooklyn Rail and other publications, has said that in some sense “architecture permeates everything I do.” As critic Martha Schwendener wrote in The New York Times in 2015, Waltemath’s “works are planned and constructed almost like buildings.”

The intersection of the fine art, design, and architecture disciplines became the inspiration for the show and its venue. A painter with an architecture background, Waltemath met interior designer and gallerist Magdalena Keck, who has a fine art background, and Keck was immediately drawn to the series. As Keck was planning her next show, she began talking to the team at Henrybuilt, a like-minded design partner with a shared interest in supporting the visual arts. Henrybuilt responded at once to both Keck’s inten- tion to display the series, as well as Waltemath’s layered compositions.

“Creators that set a system for themselves to work within resonate with me,” says gallerist Magdalena Keck. “Within this system, we exercise maximum expression, which is mostly premeditated, sometimes spontaneous. Occasional departure, often incidental, confirms the rule. I am attracted to the unhurried process of layering and the element of a delightful surprise. These are the common threads in Relational Ambience.”

“Joan’s work is a welcome companion to ours,” said Scott Hudson, Henrybuilt creative director and founder. “Both are rational – but both also break their own rules. There is the geometry and the precision, but then there is also the strong material presence – objects asserting themselves in space in a powerful way.”

This exhibition is the second New York City presentation by Magdalena Keck Gallery following its inaugural show at Roll & Hill that opened last November.


Torso and Roots are an anagram – each having an r, s and t and two o’s. When I discovered this fact it opened the way for the development of this body of works.

I initially chose to create a grid format with the proportions of a torso since I was interested in exploring this classical form. Even though my work has clear non-objective roots I am interested in the relationship of works of art to the body of the perceiver and how they are taken in with the body. Those interests have been expressed in paintings through the use of interference pigments, graphite, and the juxtaposition of reflective and absorptive surfaces that change as you walk around the painting. In this way a kind of subject/object dialectic is underscored in the apprehension of the works. How much of our knowing comes through physical sensation? How could I use these proportions to explore the complex dialogue of mind and body?

These interests have informed the torso roots paintings as I sought to create works that unfold over time as the collector lives with the painting. They should not expect to see it all on the first glance; often it will look different than it was remembered. My desire is to create something that continually unfolds in front of the collector and surprises.


Joan Waltemath was born in 1953 grew up on the Great Plains where her German ancestors settled in the late 19th century. Her early experiences in nature and looking at native geometries inform her subse- quent abstract paintings and guide their complex use of materials. Her focus on constructing spatial voids using harmonic progressions facilitates an interaction with her audience that allows a reflective response to emerge from a sustained engagement as her multifaceted 2 dimensional surfaces unfold in time. Wal- temath holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, an MFA from Hunter College, CUNY. She has lived and worked in New York City since 1977 and collaborated with filmmakers, musicians, and writers in collective groups and special projects since the early days of the downtown No Wave era. “Ok, Today, Tomorrow” a film produced out of her studio was recently shown at MOMA and archived in their collection as part of a recent survey of the 1980’s. Shown in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Portland, San Diego, Omaha, London, Basel, Amsterdam and Cologne, her paintings and drawings are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art and the Harvard University Art Museum, among others. She has written extensively on art and served as an editor-at-large for The Brooklyn Rail since 2001. She taught at the IS Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper Union from 1997 to 2010, at Princeton University and has lectured widely. She is currently the Director of MICA’s LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting.


An established New York City interior designer, Magdalena Keck is known for a conceptual, minimalist approach, rooted in her keen awareness of light, composition, and materials. Keck’s work is further distinguished by her ability to curate fine art that is informed by her academic training as an artist, her unique instinct, and grounded in the individuality of each client. Her admiration for the many artists she continues to work with, as well as her background in fine art, led her to officially launch Magdalena Keck Gallery in 2018. She currently represents artists Morgan O’Hara, Jon Shireman, Joan Waltemath, and Larry Lee Webb and shows their work in both traditional and non-traditional gallery environments. She founded her firm Magdalena Keck Interior Design in 2003 and has designed dozens of residential, retail, and corpo- rate environments in New York City, Miami, and in upstate New York’s Catskills Region. Her residential interiors work is the subject of a book published in 2017 by Glitterati titled Pied-à-Terre: Magdalena Keck written by professor of contemporary architecture Tiziana Proietti with a foreword by former Dezeen editor Dan Haworth. She serves as a founding member for Brick & Wonder, a community of real estate and design professionals. Keck grew up in Poland and moved to New York City in 1993 where she received her BFA in interior design from the Fashion Institute of Technology. To learn more about the artists represented by Magdalena Keck Gallery, please visit magdalenakeckgallery.com / @magdalenakeck


Founded in 2001, Henrybuilt brings a new level of design, integrity and fit to the most important places in a home. The company focuses on creating a uniquely high-touch experience that often starts with the kitchen but increasingly encompasses nearly every room. At its foundation is a flexible family of refined products carefully designed, engineered, and tailored for each client. www.henrybuilt.com / @henrybuilt


See more News & Events for SoHo Broadway

View Directions

12 Crosby Street
New York, NY 10013


Event Date: Sep 11, 2019
Event Time: 6:00PM
Event Duration: 3 Hours

Admission Policy:

RSVP required as space is limited.

Please email rsvp@powellmayas.com.

Back to Calendar