Abstractionists Unite! Curated by Nancy Chaikin at the Glendale College Art gallery, is a refreshing exhibition that provides a purely pleasurable and visually enriching experience. The exquisitely installed and thoughtful show of 13 artists successfully reveals the thriving nature of contemporary abstraction. Diverse in origin, generation, and gender, the artists' works in this show display a magnetic mixture of boldness and restraint, poetry and prose, an attention to formal concerns and conceptual concerns.
Fergus Feehily’s “Strange Mountain” a piece that consists of a picture frame with fabric wrapped around all but its bottom edge, keeps the viewer in a continued state of suspension. His work draws parallels to the subtle wonderment and slight nature of a Richard Tuttle.
Liz Larner’s sculpture provides all of the elements to make a three dimensional piece exceptional; sophisticated color, verve and dynamism. Max Janson’s quiet, contemplative paintings provide a moment of pause as they slow down the tempo of looking.
79 year old Belgian artist Raoul De Keyser’s painting “Cage” acts as a gorgeous Rorschach test. This work reveals itself slowly, and allows one to witness the forms unfold and experience this paintings' subtle and magical surface.
Katja Strunz’s elegant collages function as a great reminder that geometry beholds its own poetics.
Mary Heilmann’s “Tic, Tac, Toe” the centerpiece of the show is an extraordinary display of a maestro at work. This bold red and white checkerboard painting truly delivers a raw power and energy.
Thomas Keiswetter’s bronze serves as a visual reincarnation of the free-flowing, funky nature of jazz. Mary Weartherford’s small abstract painting acts as a portal into an obscure landscape. Rebecca Morris, Scott Olson and Richard Aldrich’s worked surfaces reveal the act of painting as an arena for process and alchemic experimentation. Josh Smith’s surly offhanded palette painting is both conceptually rigorous and tasty to the eyes.
The show articulates a number of visual themes that the viewer can savor. But ultimately the success of Abstractionists Unite! is its ability to allow the audience to draw their own conclusions and connections, and indulge in the pleasure of looking. It is a window into the world of abstraction as one of restless experimentation, growth, and continued vitality.