Hilma af Klint (1862 – 1944) was a Swedish artist and mystic whose paintings were among the first abstract art. af Klint often incorporated insights gleaned from color theory in her paintings, while endowing colors with unique symbolic significances. Continue reading Modern Art Monday Present: Hilma af Klint, The Dove No. 1 (One of a Series)
This Untitled Abstract Painting (circa 1963 or 64) is one of the last paintings made by Eva Hesse before she switched to sculpture. Its deconstructed symbols, figures, and shapes evoke natural forms and bodies without ever being directly identifiable. Delicate brushwork, soft colors and a light, witty touch lend this work a feminine quality that she intended as a rebuke to the masculinity of Minimalist Art. Hess was reading Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex at this time, and the text led her to question her own fragmented status as artist, woman and wife. Her work, though not overtly political, explores these issues in poetic, expressive abstractions.
Photographed in the Jewish Museum in NYC.
Most of the better-known artists of the Geometric Abstraction school of art — such as Josef Albers, Ellsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland, and Frank Stella — are men; but that doesn’t mean there were no equally talented women artists working alongside these giants, just because we don’t know about them.
One such artist is the Cuban-American painter Carmen Herrera, who, at 101 years of age, is likely the oldest working professional artist in America. Right now, you can see a collection of Herrera’s work spanning three decades at the Whitney Museum, and it is pretty sweet. Carmen Herrara: Lines of Sight is the first museum exhibition of this groundbreaking artist in New York City in nearly two decades. Focusing on the years 1948 to 1978, the period during which Herrera developed her signature style, the show features more than fifty works, including paintings, three-dimensional works, and works on paper.
Lines of Sight begins with the formative period following World War II, when Herrera lived in Paris and experimented with different modes of abstraction before establishing the visual language that she would explore with great nuance for the succeeding five decades. Many of these works have never been displayed before in a museum.
The second section of the show is an unprecedented gathering of works from what Herrera considers her most important series, Blanco y Verde (1959–1971). Nine paintings from this series illustrate the highly innovative way in which Herrera conceptualized her paintings as objects, using the physical structure of the canvas as a compositional tool and integrating the surrounding environment.
With work dating from approximately 1962 to 1978, the final section illuminates Herrera’s continued experimentation with figure/ground relationships and highlights the architectural underpinnings of many of her compositions. This section includes four wooden sculptures — Herrera’s “estructuras”— as well as her brilliant Days of the Week, a series of seven vivid paintings.
For those who can’t make it to New York to see Lines of Sight in person, you can check out a new documentary, The 100 Years Show — which celebrates Herrera’s career chronicles her preparation for the Whitney exhibit — which is currently streaming on Netflix.
Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight will be on Exhibit Through January 9th, 2017, at The Whitney Museum, Located at 99 Gansevoort Street, in Manhattan.
Made at height of the heated discussions on abstraction that took place around the artists’ group Cercle et Carré (Circle and Square), which Torres–Garcia co-founded, Estructura En Color (Color Structure), 1930 is remarkable for the way it simultaneously corresponds to and since is it self from “pure” abstraction as it was conceived at the time. The structural grid of horizontal and vertical lines Torres-Garcia employs is similar to the compositional mode often practiced by Neo-Plasticists such his Piet Mondrian, but it is not nearly as “rational” as it is in contemporaneous work by Torres-Garcia’s younger peers. By multiplying the grid’s rectangles Torres-Garcia made a work that instead relates more closely to the stained-glass windows he designed early in his career while working at the Sagrada Familia church under architect Antoni Gaudi. Likewise, although blue, red, yellow, and white are signature colors of abstraction in the style of Mondrian, Torres-Garcia’s versions are voluntarily darker, earthier, and more somber. With these variations in color and form, his work boldly breaks away from the orthodoxy of modern abstraction.
Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
One of the most accomplished abstract painters and influential teachers of the 20th century, Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) shaped three generations of artists, both in Europe and the United States. These students included Joan Mitchell, Larry Rivers, Allan Kaprow, and Marisol. As a painter, Hofmann is best remembered for his exhilarating large scale compositions that explore dynamic color and spatial relationships, topics about which he wrote widely-read essays.