Abstract America: New Paintings and Sculpture is not for me, but I have to admit that the Saatchi Gallery’s done a phenomenal job gathering up artwork by the biggest and brightest in contemporary American abstract artists. As this was my first visit to Saatchi’s swanky digs in Chelsea, I must also mention that the gallery is phenomenal – perhaps even the best venue for viewing art that I’ve ever come across.
Many of the works in the exhibition seemed too clever for my taste, but the few pieces that I liked, I absolutely loved! Agatha Snow’s weird and wonderful scarecrows wowed me with their imposing presence and sheer scale. The ponderous scale of Peter Coffin’s Untitled (Spiral Staircase) was equally impressive.
The one piece in the show that completely blew me away was Kirsten Stoltmann’s Chrome Tumbleweed on Southwestern Rug. Aggressive, in your face and unapologetic – I love how Stoltmann uses her own body as a canvas (central to the Chrome Tumbleweed piece is a photograph of the trouser-less artist spray painting her crotch pink).
I’m a low brow kind of guy and much of Abstract America is just a bit too high falutin’ for me to go gaga over. Still, it’s as representative of what’s up in American abstract art as you’re ever apt to come across. Besides, any excuse to visit the remarkably well thought out Saatchi Gallery is a good one!
-- Chris Osburn
All images Courtesy the Artists and the Saatchi Gallery. Images from Top to Bottom: Agathe Snow, Five (Cross On The Left With Spider Web), 2007Mixed-media sculpture - materials include balloons, found objects, cloth, rope, wood, concrete and wire mesh Dimensions vary with installation. 320 x 330 x 100 cm; Peter Coffin, Untitled, Spiral Staircase, 2007, Aluminium and steel, 670.6 x 670.6 x 213.4 cm)