In the 100 years since Kandinsky introduced the first purely abstract work, abstraction has been both celebrated and questioned. More than once critics declared it an expression whose time had passed, yet galleries, museums and collectors continue to support the form.
Curated by Jacob Ouillette (one of the featured painters) this dynamic exhibition explores the relevance and vibrancy of abstract art today, showcasing the divergent and innovative perspectives six young artists bring to the conversation.
Ouillette was struck by how many young artists are choosing to pursue abstraction, creating their own language and building new traditions. In some cases the form proves to be a way to illuminate concepts of time, place and space, in others the process becomes the key exploration.
The two are combined to great effect in the intuitive line work of Regina Scully. Her undulating large-scale acrylic/wood panels are her attempt to show the phenomena of contemporary cities and spaces from her own embodied perception. One discovers, with a breathtaking sense of recognition, the unity between the artist’s vision of her hometown New Orleans and the current images of post-tsunami Japan.
For Jonathan Eckel process has now taken precedence over a traditional subject matter. Color and shape are the focus of his exuberant oil canvases, the rhythmic works sharing a freedom and affinity with American modernism. Danielle Mysliwiec takes a meditative approach to process, creating exacting woven oil on wood pieces that push the boundaries of traditional two-dimensional surface by building sculptural textures that respond to the changing light of the day, creating images in constant flux.
Also included are Kate Parnell, whose conceptual pieces question the parameters of dimension and form, and Ouillette’s own striking brushstroke studies, which bravely reduce each element to a single stroke of pure form and color. The youngest artist in the show, Osamu Kobayashi, creates thoughtful minimal pieces that play with surface tension and clever conceptual titles.
‘Abiding Abstraction’ like the Big Lebowski’s famed protagonist that inspired the title, maintains a certain fortitude and integrity, upholding an essential quality of truth and authenticity that speaks volumes.