Monday, 25 January 2010

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.

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