Tag Archives: abstract

Modern Art Monday Presents: Alma W. Thomas, Wind Sunshine and Flowers

wind sunshine and flowers photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Alma W. Thomas derived her vibrant color palette and lyrical brush work from the shapes and movement of foliage, flowers, and other natural forms. The stripes of bright pigment in Wind, Sunshine and Flowers (1968) create an engrossing effect that recalls feelings of awe inspired by nature

For Thomas, the visual realm of natural phenomena offered a way to transcend the racial biases she experienced as a black painter and educator in the early to mid -20th century. In 1972 she wrote, “man’s highest aspirations come from nature. A world without color would seem dead. Color is life. Light is the mother of color. Light reveals to us the spirit and the living soul of the world through colors.”

Photographed in The Brooklyn Museum.

 

Modern Art Monday Presents: Cecily Brown, Fair of Face, Full of Woe

fair of face full of woe photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

This small-scale triptych demonstrates Cecily Brown’s characteristic use of highly expressionistic and densely layered brushstrokes that tend to blur distinctions between the representational and the abstract. Initially the painting appears devoid of recognizable subject matter, yet closer inspection reveals hints of bodily fragments entangled among lushly-rendered landscapes. There is a shared materiality between flesh and paint, which Brown suggestively exploits for both optic and erotic charge. Like the title, Fair of Face, Full of Woe (2008), which references an English fortunetelling nursery rhyme, the painting exists in constant flux, it’s visual fate determined by each new viewer.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Hans Hofmann, Deep Within The Ravine

deep within the ravine phot by gail worley
Photo By Gail

In his writing, teaching, and powerful abstract works, Hans Hofmann advocated for what he called the dynamic “push and pull” of color, light, and shape as the best means for achieving a sense of space, movement, and emotion in painting. Filled with bold strokes the in some cases join to form larger, irregular blocks of color, Deep Within the Ravine (1965) features a pool of deep blue-black that appears compressed by passages of green and orange around it. Exhibiting Hofmann’s interest in complementary hues (blue / orange and green / red) for their inherent contrast, the painting is part of The Renate Series, a group of nine compositions he created as a tribute to his wife in 1965.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Tomma Abts, Kobo

tomma abts kobo photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Tomma Abts (German, b 1967) produces her paintings following a strict, self-imposed procedure. For almost twenty years, she has used vertical canvases measuring precisely 48 by 38 centimeters (19 by 15 inches) for her paintings. Rather than begin with a preconceived structure in mind, she allows her abstract compositions to take shape as she works, sometimes over the course of several years. She paints with the support cradled in her arm, not on an easel.  As seen here, the surfaces of Abts’ canvases are composed of many layers of paint, with the ghosts of past compositions just barely visible underneath subsequent coats of acrylic and oil.  This work’s title, Kobo (1999) is pulled, like all of her titles, from an encyclopedia of German surnames.

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. 

Modern Art Monday Presents: Helen Frankenthaler, Wizard

wizard by helen frankenthaler  photo by gail worley
Photos By Gail Worley

From Situating Helen Frankenthaler’s  Wizard by Louise Byrne

Completed in 1963, Helen Frankenthaler’s Wizard stands apart from her then contemporary paintings, with its vertical orientation, body-sized scale, and figural allusion in both name and form. One of the last paintings Frankenthaler worked entirely in oil, Wizard should be understood as a crucial experiment in both method and medium, presaging key changes in Frankenthaler’s established approach. The artist’s works of 1962 show the last influences of didactic expressionism, where apparently unguided drips and blots of oil punctuate wide expanses of unprimed canvas, each piece emerging as an autonomous work.

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