Spanierman Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Ten Modern and Contemporary Artists, featuring works created from the mid-twentieth century to the present by ten artists: Frank Bowling, Dan Christensen, Teo González, Carol Hunt, Stephen Pace, Charlotte Park, Katherine Parker, Betty Parsons, Neil Williams, and Frank Wimberley. The exhibition is on view thru June 16, 2011.
A seminal figure in the Abstract Expressionist movement, Betty Parsons (1900–1982) launched the careers of many leading artists through the gallery she ran for thirty years; she was also an artist in her own right, producing abstract paintings and sculpture in which she drew from her stimulating milieu and expressed her own personal and witty responses to her surroundings. Charlotte Park (1918–2010), wife of James Brooks, evolved a unique version of Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s, developing a dynamic, vibrant approach to express a wide emotional range. The New York Times art critic Roberta Smith identified Park as among a few other women artists whose art shows “hints of bodies of work that might sustain further study.” Contemporary with Park, Stephen Pace (1918–2010) enjoyed a long and productive career. He visited the Paris home of Gertrude Stein in the 1940s, became a friend of Milton Avery’s in the 1950s, and trained with Hans Hofmann, whose teachings spurred the direct and vigorous Abstract Expressionist style he developed in the 1950s. In 1961, the critic, Thomas B. Hess, deemed him a “brilliant member of the second generation of New York School painters that burst on the scene, in the early 1950s, fully made, as if from the forehead of the Statue of Liberty.”
An important exponent of Minimal and Systemic painting, Neil Williams (1934–1988) was one of the first American artists to investigate the aesthetic potential of the irregularly shaped canvas. His works, featuring hard-edged geometric forms were included in momentous exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum, including The Shaped Canvas (1964) and Systemic Painting (1966). One of America’s leading artists associated with the Color Field movement, Dan Christensen (1942–2007) relentlessly tested the limits, range, and possibilities of paint and form, during a career that lasted from the mid-1960s until his early death in 2007. While deriving influence from a variety of modernist sources, he also pioneered the use of alternative tools and methods, including spray paint guns, window-washing squeegees, and innovations in acrylic pigments. In 1990, the noted critic Clement Greenberg pronounced Christensen “one of the painters on whom the course of American art depends.” An artist whose abstract canvases pulsate with a rare physicality and optical intensity, Frank Wimberley (b. 1926) is esteemed by his fellow artists for his unstinting commitment to exploring the expressive potential of material and surface. His work, according to the art historian Phyllis Braff “can project the heated dynamics and intuitive gestural qualities of Abstract Expressionism, while at the same time serving as a cool acknowledgement of the factual, non-illusionist components of the artwork.”
Recognized internationally for his dedication to the modernist tradition, Frank Bowling (b. 1936) has been honored by his election to the Royal Academy, London and by being made an officer in the Order of the British Empire by the Queen of England (O.B.E.). Born in British Guyana, Bowling studied in London, where he was at the forefront of a new generation of British artists. He established residency in New York in 1966 and was the subject of a solo exhibition held at the Whitney Museum in 1971. Using a method that involves dripping and pouring paint as well as often stitching and adhering fragments and strips from earlier paintings onto larger canvases, Bowling creates works noted for their optical and surface complexities. A painter who draws from the legacy of Abstract Expressionism, Carol Hunt (b. 1942) creates textural images in which flung, dripped, and gestural methods create light, depth, and emotion. Her images are both self-revelatory and speak to the collective unconscious in their evocation of archetypal forms. Katherine Parker (b. 1958) has worked in the tradition of Abstract Expressionism since the 1970s. Creating large-scale oil paintings, she uses an intuitive process that she compares to a “highwire act.” Themes of time and change are present in her works in which she builds thin layers of paint and then scrapes them away, working in oil because of its light and nuances, as she strives toward an intensity of color. Teo González (b. 1964) creates a distinctive art, consisting of allover compositions that at first seem almost monochromatic, but on second glance reveal the presence of thousands of tiny droplets of paint distributed across the surface. Lately his work has become more fluid, while maintaining the meticulous and minimalist attributes that characterize his aesthetic.