TELLURIDE, COLO.— “Non Objective,” an exhibition curated by Los Angeles-based painter James Hayward, will be on view at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art this month from Dec. 14 through Jan. 10. The exhibition showcases the vitality and breadth of West Coast-inspired abstraction. It brings together works by abstract painters Edith Baumann, Meg Cranston, Kristen Beinner James, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, James Hayward, Scot Heywood, Penelope Krebs, Daniel Mendel-Black, Allison Miller, John M. Miller, Ed Moses, Michael Reafsnyder, and Patrick Tobias.
This survey of Southern California non-objective painting is timely, coming as it does on the heels of this year’s LACMA show of the West Coast painter John McLaughlin’s hard-edge abstractions. While the artists featured live and work in different locales, they share Southern California connections and a common sensibility that telegraphs the optics of Los Angeles. Color in these paintings runs hot, and many of the edges are drawn hard. Dispensing with the medium’s traditional narrative requirements leaves these artists free to explore the properties of paint as such. When they handle paint, no holds are barred. Freed from representational responsibilities, paint starts behaving in gonzo, unpredictable ways. Its manipulation involves action verbs. It dabs, spurts, clots, folds, and curls.
Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe shows two gouache paintings on paper where visor-like slivers of bright, refined color narrow and seem to quicken as they draw nearer to a central axis. “Friedrich,” painted in oil on aluminum, sets an off-kilter sequence of narrow rectilinear planes within a lushly painted field of gestural marks in hues ranging from peach to saffron. At some points, this delicate armature structures and contains the color field; in other places it disappears beneath a flood of vibrantly colored marks.
Three small paintings by Ed Moses roil with energy. In “Fruit Bar 3” multiple objects flicker in and out of recognition in the course of a single fluid brushstroke. The large, nonobjective Moses painting “30 e” counters a barrage of nuanced grayscale marks with the emphatic flatness of a pooled splatter form in unsubtle yellow acrylic. Hayward comments that Moses’s new paintings “are little masterpieces – hybrids of Morandi, Guston, Mitchell and his own skill, finesse and rejection of such.”
Paintings by Kristin Beinner James invite viewers to think differently about front and back, upending the usual relationship between paint and support. In one untitled painting a mixture of wax and acrylic paint is held suspended within the loose-woven jute surface, so that the distinction between surface and pigment becomes impossible to ascertain. Another work was made by extruding waxy pigment through the back of a stretched piece of jute and then through a secondary layer of open-weave cotton interface. This double surface is patterned with clots of waxy color that bled through the saturated background grid.
“I see my paintings as filters that sift intent and material,” James writes. “Their visually tactile surfaces attempt to grasp vision through a projection of touch.”
“Non Objective” is dedicated to the memory of one of its participants, the painter John M. Miller (1939-2017), who passed away during the exhibition’s preparation. Miller’s hard-edged abstract paintings helped shape the story of Los Angeles minimalism. He was an inspiration and a friend to many of the artists in the exhibition. The diptych “E002” superimposes panels of raw stretched canvas that are, like Miller’s other works, patterned with hard-edged diagonal bars in contrasting colors: black above, white below. Telluride Gallery of Fine Art owner Ashley Hayward states, “The deep Zen balance and simplicity of this particular work reflects the man who has inspired all of us involved in this show.” There will be a reception for the artists on Dec. 29 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. A town-wide Artwalk event will take place on Jan. 4, also from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Materials available upon request include: exhibition catalog with introduction by art critic Dr. Frances Colpitt, photographs, and a media platform featuring mini interviews with artists. Contact Christin Marcos at (970) 728-3300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.