Fields of Abstraction
Although freed from the burden of representation, Abstract art remains rooted in the real world. It aims to extract the essential elements of something more visually complex – objects, scenes, events, or even experiences. Some abstractions bear traces of their origin in a figurative composition, subliminally suggesting its structure or presence, while others are closer to pure form. All express a response to personal, social, political, and cultural realities.
Organized as three experiential areas – Contemplative Expanses, Energetic Surfaces, and Geometric Balance – this exhibition offers an immersive space that invites the viewer’s gaze to roam free. Videos of artists filmed in the act of painting are integrated with the artworks, providing insight into the variety of creative, bodily, and material processes involved in making abstract art.
Color, material, and gesture are primary means for the expression of the artist’s emotions. As the American action painter Willem de Kooning said: “I paint this way because I can keep putting more and more things in it – drama, anger, pain, love, a figure, a horse, my ideas about space. Through your eyes it again becomes an emotion or an idea.”
The artist Helen Frankenthaler stated: “A really good picture looks as if it’s happened at once. It’s an immediate image…to produce one really beautiful wrist motion that is synchronized with your head and heart, and . . . looks as if it were born in a minute.”
The artist Ad Reinhardt claimed in 1962 that “The one object of fifty years of abstract art is to present art-as-art and as nothing else…making it…more absolute and more exclusive – non-objective, non-representational, non-figurative, non-imagist, non-expressionist, non-subjective.”