Being and Becoming: First and Second Generation Abstract Expressionist Compositions
This exhibit features work by first and second generation abstract expressionist painters, including Paul Burlin, Hans Hofmann, Vivian Springford, Jack Roth, Elaine de Kooning, Norman Bluhm, Ray Parker, Hans Burkhardt, Jon Schueler, Sam Francis, Joan Mitchell, and more.
Abstract Expressionism remains the most important and quintessential American art movement to date and was instrumental in shifting the gravitational center of the modern art world from Paris to New York in the mid-twentieth century. Although rooted in the early abstract paintings of Wassily Kandinsky as well as in the late Cubist and Surrealist works of Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, respectively, Abstract Expressionist compositions are immediately distinguishable from their European progenitors by their creational spontaneity, compositional indeterminacy, and emotional immediacy. The main innovation of the movement was to foreground as subject the artist’s feelings and emotions by creating visual states of being and becoming.
States of being are best exemplified in compositions whose simplicity of form and subtlety of color invite quiet meditation (e.g., Roth, de Kooning, Grillo, Parker, Dugmore, and early Springford), whereas states of becoming are most typified in works whose gestural boldness and chromatic richness exude the vital qualities of energy and dynamism (e.g., Burlin, Yamamoto, Kishi, and late Springford). Most Abstract Expressionist paintings, however, combine elements of both states of being and becoming (e.g., Burlin, Schueler, Francis, Brooks, and Bluhm), thereby producing compositions of exceeding semiotic complexity and profundity.
Artists included in the exhibition are Paul Burlin, Hans Hofmann, Vivian Springford, Jack Roth, Elaine de Kooning, Norman Bluhm, Ray Parker, Hans Burkhardt, Jon Schueler, Taro Yamamoto, Sam Francis, Joan Mitchell, Edward Dugmore, John Grillo, Masatoyo Kishi, and Carl Holty.