NEW YORK, NY.-
The 22 works in this exhibition reflect the gallerys focus on the artists of the 1960s 1970s who participated in the international debate on the course of abstract painting after Abstract Expressionism. This debate was framed by two major exhibitions: Clement Greenbergs 1964 exhibition Post-Painterly Abstraction at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and William Seitzs 1965 exhibition The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art.
Post-Painterly Abstraction took from Abstract Expressionism its large format and added open compositions with expansive, flattened planes of color, or color fields. Clement Greenberg championed this style, favoring staining where artists use as little pigment as possible and let the unprepared canvas absorb the paint. Other artists within the Color Field style refused to sacrifice the even, smooth, and controlled surfaces achieved with prepared canvases. By preparing the ground of their paintings, these artists went against Greenbergs theories. The two opposing approaches to Color Field painting are shown in our exhibition. Greenbergs staining is represented by Sam Gilliams (b. 1933) Red Linger, 1972 and Paul Reeds (b. 1919) 16I, 1963, while Paul Jenkins (1923-2012) Phenomena Maimonides Mantle, 1979 and Phenomena Sufi Procession, 1974 are examples of the free-flowing color achieved with primed canvases.
In addition to Color Field painting, the 1960s saw groups of artists return to geometric compositions. In California one of these geometric groups was called the Abstract Classicists. They reacted against the emphasis Abstract Expressionism had placed on personal emotions. In geometric compositions, the California group made up of Lorser Feitelson (1898-1971), Karl Benjamin (1925-2012), Frederick Hammersley (1919-2009), and John McLaughlin (1898-1976) worked with shapes, color, and scale in carefully determined compositions to achieve a cool equilibrium. The four artists were featured in the 1959 exhibition Four Abstract Classicists at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Paintings by Feitelson, Benjamin, and Hammersley are in our exhibition.
Op Art was another reaction against the personal expression found in Abstract Expressionism. Op artists were focused on geometric compositions that shifted the focus to viewer participation in an immersive experience. Op Arts geometric structures are mathematically conceived out of color, form, line, and pattern and designed to test the limits of perception. Movement is implied in two dimensions through elements that create order and instability. Tension is developed by opposing forces of color like black and white or the interaction of equally hued colors which vibrate. Op Art was international in scope. Americas leading Op artists are Richard Anuszkiewicz (b. 1928), Tadasky (Tadasuke Kuwayama, b. 1935), and Julian Stanczak (b.1930) who each have a painting in our exhibition.
Some Op artists created three-dimensional constructions, electronic sculpture, and light installations, pioneering later 20th century forms of interactive and multimedia art in the process. Our gallery is particularly interested in the Shaped Canvas Movement that was central to the 1960s geometrically based Op Art. Our exhibition includes innovative shaped canvases by Charles Hinman (b. 1932); Theo Hios (1908-1998); Alexander Liberman (1912-1999); Alvin Loving, Jr. (1935-2005); Sven Lukin (1925-2012); and Paul Reed (b. 1919). Mon Levinson (b. 1926) and Leroy Lamis (1925-2010) are Op artists who made use of the new 1960s material plastic in the creation of their geometrically based constructions that enrich our exhibition.
The exhibition is on view February 25 April 26, 2014 and can be seen online at dwigmore.com