“EXPLOSIVE ABSTRACTION” Inaugural Opening Summer 2022
June 24 to August 7, 2022
Abstraction in painting has been around since the early 20th century, when artists as diverse as Georgia O’Keeffe, Wassily Kandinsky, and Robert Delaunay explored subject matter with few objective references to the real world. Since the heyday of Abstract Expressionism in the United States, in the mid-1940s to mid-1950s, gestural abstraction has proved especially enduring among contemporary artists, who have inherited and expanded upon techniques explored decades ago—staining, automatism, spontaneous brushwork, and mixed media.
The five artists featured in this show—Timothy Nero, Marcia Oliver, Greta Young, Brian Shields, and Paul Behnke—have all forged a language that follows in the footsteps of the mid-century AbEx pioneers, like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Joan Mitchell.
Sometimes the references in the work are obvious, as in Brian Shields’s lyrical explorations of the northern New Mexico landscape, or Greta Young’s hapless bits and pieces of struggling humanity. Other painters in the show, like Marcia Oliver and Paul Behnke, have established a nonobjective vocabulary relying for emotional impact on pure form and color. All the artists have developed highly individual approaches, proving that even within the narrow 75-mile corridor between Santa Fe and Taos, NM, a diversity of voices is thrillingly possible.
In tandem with the show, Gwen Chanzit, curator of the groundbreaking exhibition “Women of Abstract Expressionism” at the Denver Art Museum (2016), will give an illustrated lecture on the origins of abstraction.