Making our post-neo-faux-expressionist-pre-figurative-proto-conceptual heads spin

 EJ Hauser, “sci-fi,” 2010, oil on canvas, 16″ wide x 20″ high x 1.75″ deep.
Rosanna Bruno’s studio. Courtesy Elisabeth Condon’s blog.
 An image from Paul Pagk‘s ongoing Lexicon series, 2010,  oil on linen 28″ x 27″
Ivin Balin, “Semi-Formal,” 2010, fiberglass, Aquaresin, absorbent ground, gouache, acrylic, 23″ x 27″  
 Wendy White, “U.R.” 2010, acrylic on canvas and foam ball, 40 x 53″

This month two galleries in New York, Artjail and Edward Thorp, are presenting group abstract painting surveys. Here are the press releases for the shows, which feature many Two Coats favorites.

Geometric Progressions: Eleven Painters,” Edward Thorp, New York, NY. Through Nov. 6, 2010.

“Each artist in this exhibition has developed a unique relationship to geometry while succeeding in extending its traditional vocabulary. While some of these artists feel that the grid still expresses the situation best, others argue for a more dislocated experience. All works are executed with intellectual curiosity and seriousness, merging the personal into the preconceived tropes of geometric abstraction.

“The artists selected in Geometric Progressions present contrasting approaches and a diversity of practice is in evidence. Some combine methods that juxtapose painting with object and drawing such as Patrick Brennan and EJ Hauser. Others as Andrew Spence and Lynne Woods Turner state a more rigorous geometry with art history as mediator. Meanwhile, Rosanna Bruno plunges brushstrokes into illusionistic depth while Paul Pagk�s imaging operates as both matter and sign. Natasha Sweeten and Jenifer Kobylarz create formulations of color, form and process with subtlety and lyricism. A vision tending more towards introspection and the idiosyncratic can be found in Craig Olson and Stephen Mueller�s meditations. With intuitively pitched paintings that fall between the hard-edged and the organic, Jered Sprecher completes this dialogue of artists collectively resisting a singular approach to geometry.”

Painting Comes Alive!” Artjail, New York, NY. Through Oct. 10, 2010.

Featuring: Justin Adian, Liz Ainslie, Ivin Ballen, Joe Ballweg, Erik den Breejen, Maria Calandra, Andy Cross, Joy Curtis, William Downs, Ryan Franklin, Jay Gaskill, Zach Harris, Christine Heindl, Ezra Johnson, Jim Lee, Elisa Lendvay, JJ Manford, David McBride, Kelly McRaven, Colin Ocon, Mike Olin, Carl Ostendarp, Courtney Puckett, Mathias Sias, and Wendy White.

“Functioning as a survey of recent developments in abstract painting, the show spans a diverse range of work culled from 25 New York-based artists. We tend to think of abstract art as being non-representational, non-figurative or non-objective, yet all of these terms are used solely to describe what the work is not. This exhibition allows for a chance to focus on what the work is.

Richard Diebenkorn cited the definition of abstract as simply ‘to draw from or separate,’ expressing his frustration with the limitations of the term in regards to art. He was indeed in a predicament, having shifted from an abstract expressionist style to a figurative one in a time when most artists were aligning themselves to the notion of ‘pure’ abstraction. The fact that both modes of working bore similar formal qualities was seemingly lost on dismissive critics. This can also be referred to as the ‘de Kooning conundrum,’ made apparent when Clement Greenberg said to Bill in reference to his use of the figure, ‘you�re dead.’

“In these examples, we can see the problematic nature of the notion of ‘progress’ in art, especially now that we have seen figuration (and painting) die and come back so many times it can make your post-neo-faux-expressionist-pre-figurative-proto-conceptual head spin. In this way, it can easily be argued that all of the work in the show is both ‘abstract’ and ‘painting,’ but by grouping potentially contradictory artistic tendencies together, the exhibition seeks to question assumptions about both.”

Note: Images above were taken from artists’ websites and may not be included in the exhibitions. Artists: let me know if these links are incorrect and I’ll revise them.

Related post:
Abstract painters Bruno, Hauser, Butler and Herman swim up river this weekend


  1. I love all of these paintings. The artists above are a mishmash btwn the three shows you mention, right? Saw several of them last night at Painting Comes Alive! but I particularly love Bruno's large paintings — where is she showing??

  2. Yes, the painters are from both shows. I got the images from the artists' websites so these paintings aren't necessarily in the shows. As far as I know, Rosanna is unaffiliated, although she showed at John Davis in Hudson last year.

  3. i can't wait to see these shows!

  4. Ivin Ballen's work is wonderful to look at and I wish I was there through his(?) process, a fly on the wall. Great post, thanks for introducing me to these works.

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