Group Shows

Abstraction in early 2012: Allen, de Oude, Hathaway, Peterson, Sable, San�n

In geometric abstraction, doesn’t it seem as though the brushstrokes are either masked and tightly drawn, or loose and drippy these days? At Deborah Brown‘s new Bushwick gallery, Storefront Bushwick, carefully composed masking and layering dominate the work of Gary Peterson, Halsey Hathaway and, in the back room, Rob de Oude. The three color-loving formalists’ paintings have handsome, seductive color, hard edges and slow meticulous processes in common. The paintings are nothing if not beautiful.

 At Heiner Contemporary, a relatively new gallery on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, DC, Chip Allen and Katherine Sable’s gloriously handmade paintings trigger a more visceral response. Both painters ride the line between chance and control, Allen imposing painting parameters and Sable professing an interest in  masculine/feminine dialogue (which, btw, I don’t see in the work, but I love her Mary Heilmann-esque patterns nonetheless). The first time I drove by and saw one of Sable’s big pieces in the gallery’s window I nearly caused a multi-car pile up. The third painter in the Heiner show, Camilo San�n, is engaged with precisely rendered lines and vibrantly-colored, rectangular shapes that would probably feel more at home with Peterson and Hathaway, but his work is an interesting counterpoint to Sable and Allen’s more instinctual approach.  All in all, a good, solid start for abstraction in 2012.

 Halsey Hathaway, Better Me Than You
 Gary Peterson, Don’t Go Anywhere
Rob de Oude, Curvilinear Dissection/5
Chip Allen, Love and Living Creatures #1, 2011, oil on paper, 26 x 22 inches
Chip Allen, Love and Living Creatures #13, 2011, oil on paper, 26 x 22 inches

Installation of Chip Allen’s paintings on paper at Heiner Contemporary.
Katherine Sable, Show a Little Ankle, 2011, oil on linen, 66 x 54 inches.
Katherine Sable, Fancy Goods, 2011, oil on linen, 30 x 30 inches.
Camilo San�n, Estructura Subyacente 412, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 29 x 29 inches
Camilo San�n, Initial Confluence, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 40 inches
Installation of Camilo San�ns paintings at Heiner Contemporary.

Halsey Hathaway and Gary Peterson,” Storefront Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. Through February 5, 2012. In the back room: paintings by Rob de Oude.

In Line/Out of Line,” Heiner Contemporary, Washington, DC. Through January 14, 2012.


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  1. I like the energy of Chip Allen's work. What are you thoughts on the Josh Smith?

  2. Those Katherine Sables look so seductive!

  3. Thanks for this – can't be there to see the show, this is the next best thing.

  4. I'm hoping this year painters will get off the geometrically abstract band wagon.

  5. Thank you, Sharon, for this blog. Question for Garric Simonsen: what is your objection to geometry in abstraction? What you dismiss as a bandwagon, I, as a painter, see as a healthy, diverse trend to re-explore the grid and geometry, often as integral rather than self-limiting strategies. The latter trend especially — integrating geometry with gestural painting, whether in a fundamentally abstract or hybrid context — does not seem to me to be any more overused or poorly used than any other currently prominent strategy. Perhaps you could elaborate a bit on your own perceptions.

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