Thursday, 28 January 2010

The Art Story

I have recently found this comprehensive site THE ART STORY, dedicated to the history of Abstract expressionist painting. It is the brainchild of Michael Zurakhinsky an obvious abstractophile. The site has biogs, timelines, quotes, references, analysis and some great photographs of the art works and the mothers and fathers of this movement. A feeding frenzy awaits you.

Hail Senators of Abstract Painting

Helen Frankenthaler was recently honoured with awards and a solo show at Knoedler when she became eighty. Gillian Ayres is also having her 80th year celebrated with a show at Alan Cristea.

Martin Gayford's article in the Telegraph.

Basil Beattie has a few years to go yet before he is 80 but is showing the Janus series of work at Abbott Hall.

These surely are honourable people.

Image courtesy of Knoedler, Helen Frankenthaler Pink Lady 1963. Oil on canvas, 84-1/2 x 58 inches
Image courtesy of Alan Christea, Gillian Ayres Widsith, 2009
Image courtesy of Eagle Gallery London Basil Beattie, When Night Sidles in (Janus series) 2007, oil and wax on canvas, 213 x 198 cm.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Sol LeWitt in Stockholm

An exhibition of murals by Sol LeWitt, anyone would think that wall paintings were a new thing - Caves - Giotto - Richard Wright - Sol LeWitt. The exhibition by Sol at
Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall in Sweden is accompanied, on the website, by an excellent insight into their construction. The photograph of the installation does not communicate the intricacy of the drawing involved in their making. I applaud Elisabeth Millqvist for this open approach and the engagement it encourages. It would appear that a curatorial approach provides each exhibition listing with work lists, programme, info on the artists in a very direct and accessible manner. Image courtesy Magazin 3 Stockholm Konsthalle

Action Painting at the Chrysler

According to the Daily Press in Virginia there are a few gems in this exhibition, from this influential period of painting that haven't been seen for over 20 years. Hopefully these will become visible to us this side of the pond.
Image courtesy Chrysler Museum of Art

Here is the blurb from the Chrysler Museum of Art's web site. I am glad to see this development which will reintroduce a painterly aspect that the current fashion seems to be missing. I am a sucker for the simple but I also revel in the energy and the unguarded expression that these paintings promise.

Now through April 11, 2010 in the Waitzer Community Gallery
Experience the spontaneity and pure optical pleasure of paint dripped, flung, stroked, and slashed across large canvases by nine masters of gestural technique. Inspired by Freudian psychology and the actual process of creating art, Action Painting helped birth Abstract Expressionism and dominated progressive American painting well into the 1960s. As an enthusiastic collector, Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. purchased many of these works directly from artists he befriended. This exhibition, drawn from our own vast storage vaults, complements his purchases of works by better-known contemporaries— Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, and Franz Kline—which are regularly on display in our McKinnon Galleries of Modern Art.

Another heartening example, again from the US, is this article from the Omaha World Herald discussing abstraction in response to an exhibition curated by Hesse McGraw at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts called “Borderland Abstraction” From the Bemis:
"Debate on abstraction ballooned in the last decade, engulfing issues as varied as the politics of beauty, material ingenuity, site-specificity and fragmentation. Response to these issues splintered into strongly worded arguments on the cause of visual pleasure v. market pressure; iteration v. spontaneity, the offhand gesture v. formal purity; reductivist aesthetics v. maximalist expression; and on and on. Rather than wallow in these debates, which ultimately shift focus from the work and its ideas, this exhibition explores the vibrant cracks in between, places where there are authentic pleasures in the making, looking and thinking about contemporary abstraction."

Washed Out Charcoal, Acrylic and Oil on canvas 2009 Eric Sall image courtesy of The Bemis Centre for Contemporary Art

It is heartening to see these activities and I also note that the Arshile Gorky exhibition at the Tate is soon opening which I intend to see and will write more on later.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Ellsworth Kelly: drawings 1954-1962 at MIMA

Ellsworth Kelly:
drawings 1954-1962
11 December 2009 - 21 February 2010

MIMA is delighted to present a new exhibition of drawings by Ellsworth Kelly all executed between 1954 and 1962. This key eight-year period for Kelly was when he pioneered his much-admired abstract style that has been vital to the evolution of modern art. For many his distinct approach to colour and form has made him one of the most singular and influential American artists of the 20th century.

For the exhibition the artist has personally selected 23 drawings for mima that use a variety of techniques including ink, graphite, oil paint and collage. Coming directly from the artist’s studio they will be shown together for the first time at mima. With their heart stopping elegance the works in the exhibition will lay bare the visual language that makes Kelly one of the most important artists of our era.

To read The Independent article about Ellsworth Kelly 11 Jan 2010 Click here

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Kenneth Noland 1924-2010

"Kenneth Noland, whose brilliantly colored concentric circles, chevrons and stripes were among the most recognized and admired signatures of the postwar style of abstraction known as Color Field painting, died Tuesday at his home in Port Clyde, Me. He was 85."
NY Times article

I have chosen a less familiar Noland which would seem to fit the current reduction trend in America. I also draw your attention to the fact that Jazz is played on arriving at his website. I am not knowledgeable enough of the genre to know the tune or the artist..... RIP ol' Jazzer.

'Epigram' courtesy Kenneth Noland website