Abstract form always existed. Prehistoric cave art, ancient art, medieval art and modern art used abstraction right alongside stunning verisimilitude in smart, deliberate ways. Western cultures equated the ability to duplicate the world with the highest standard of art skill, until the camera. Machines that in a click captured the real—as well as contact with artifacts of colonialism—led artists to re-imagine uses and meanings for abstraction: universal communication, theosophy, primal expression, the inner structure of objective reality, and to signify creative ‘free will’ in contrast to lock-step formulas of social realism. Art history attributes the first abstraction to Kandinsky’s Improvisation of 1911. Oddly enough, non figurative forms in that work repeat similar shapes in the oldest known caves in Marseilles—and these potent marks sit comfortably beside images of lions so real they rend the heart. It’s fitting that one hundred years later we reconsider what abstraction means today, its legacy and longevity, how and why it is used. More fitting still is that we do this through works and words of artists who deploy that language now, each in very different but ever viable ways.
This exhibition, Framing Abstraction, is meant to celebrate the centennial of abstract painting. Abstract art has evolved from its original spiritual and utopian stance in the early 20th century to an art which was seen as radical-avant-garde, and on to its present vibrant position. Refuting the digital display of the current moment, abstract paintings are simply pictures, brushed by the hand of the artist, in which emotional intuition is framed by the artist’s rational mind into dynamic metaphors.
CONVERSATIONS WITH THE ARTISTS
A program designed as a series of talks with a selected artists and guest curators giving audiences the opportunity to engage directly with featured individuals in an informal setting.
Friday, March 4, 7 pm | Mark Harrington and Manfred Muller in a Q and A with Curator
Saturday, March 26, 2 pm | Jack Rutberg, director of Jack Rutberg Gallery, speaking for Jordi Alcaraz and Hans Burkhardt
Friday, April 1, 7 pm | Meg Cranston in a Q and A with Curator Donohue
Saturday, April 16, 2 pm | Charles Christopher Hill, Kevan Jenson and Gary Edward Blum