Piri Halasz Reviews “Ten Modern and Contemporary Artists”

Frank WImberley - Tide Murmur, 2011

Frank Wimberley (b. 1926), "Tide Murmur," 2011, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 60 inches

Spanierman Gallery invites you to view the  exhibition Ten Modern and Contemporary Artists, presenting 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 Please read the following review of the exhibition by Piri Halasz from her online art column From the Mayor’s Doorstep. This exhibition ends this Saturday, July 16th, at 5:30PM.

July 11, 2011

By Piri Halasz

Uptown, Spanierman has turned the “historical” side of its gallery into a stage for “Ten Modern and Contemporary Artists” (through July 16—a collagist is in Spanierman Modern). The focus in the group show is on artists older than the LaViola group, and/or artists practicing the gestural painting led by de Kooning in the 50s. Among them are Betty Parsons (better known as a dealer, but occasionally piquant as a painter), Charlotte Park, Stephen Pace, Neil Williams (shaped canvases in Day-Glo colors half-way between Zox and Stella), Carol Hunt, Katherine Parker, and Teo González. The three who stood out for me were Dan Christensen, Frank Bowling and Frank Wimberley. The first two, I am sure, are familiar to most of my readers, but they may not be aware that here is a chance to see five or six fine paintings by each.

Dan Christensen - Bill's Drift, 1979

Dan Christensen (1942-2007), "Bill's Drift," 1979, acrylic on canvas, 57-1/2 x 29-1/2 inches

The large “LS” (1967) by Christensen, displayed in the gallery’s window, is a magnificent example of the artist’s softly-hued spray paintings, built up of horizontal strokes of cream and gray, hints of brighter hues peeping through. Also handsome is “Wave” (1987), a small narrow horizontal, with white and red striations across it, and especially “Bill’s Drift” (1979). This was a type of painting by Christensen that I’d never seen before, with a yellow field dominated by a diagonally vertical stripe of Kelly green, and lesser accents of purple, pink, orange and blue. I also saw five paintings by Bowling – 2 from the 70s, one from 1980, 2 from last year. The two recent ones, “Old Altar Piece” and “Wreath,” were both welcome and familiar, but the two from the 70s were unexpected and gave me fresh jolts. “Flame” (1975) is blended vertical stripes of color, the broadest being mauve and the narrow one next to it, a surprising red, while “Sanovski” (1977) is a knockout, with an intricate rainbow of pale colors, blended like the feathers on a peacock’s tail.

Wimberley (b. 1926) is the least known of the three, and I was only able to see three paintings by him. One left me cold, but the other two were impressive. This artist works with a defiantly flat matte finish. His “Immixture” (2011) is yellow paint slathered on, in raised short, folded strokes over a black field. “Tide Murmur” (2011) is large horizontal rectangles and narrower stripes of grays and black with accents of white, mustard and a pale bluish gray. With Wimberley, as with Christensen and Bowling, there was one painting on the checklist I couldn’t see, because it was out on approval. I would be irritated except that I’m happy business seems good.

View the exhibition online

Video Talk with Lisa Nankivil – MNOriginal.org

Lisa Nankivil

Playing in the liminal space between chaos and organization, abstract artist Lisa Nankivil creates bold stripe paintings. In her studio, she utilizes a sliding T-square mounted on a roller skate wheel, allowing gravity and an organic attitude to help her compositions take form. Nankivil permits her canvas’ definitions to get lost and found in the struggle between surface and deep space. To Nankivil, experiencing abstract art is for everyone and the bridge it creates to feelings are best left to the viewer, and not tags on a museum wall.

This segment aired as part of mn original show #226.

View Lisa Nankivil: Lines of Inference exhibition

Read Nankivil Biography

“Judith Godwin: Early Abstractions” at Jepson Center, Savannah, GA

Judith Godwin - Nucleus II, 1950

Judith Godwin, "Nucleus II" (detail), 1950, oil on canvas, 36 ½ x 60 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Judith Godwin: Early Abstractions is on view at the Telfair Museum’s Jepson Center through August 7, 2011. In the early 1950s, New York-based artist Judith Godwin began removing representational elements from her paintings in favor of abstract approaches. She continued to push the developing abstraction in her work, and over the next decade, saw the imagery evolve into powerful nonobjective compositions. This exhibition explores a critical period in Godwin’s evolution, focusing on her abstractions from the early 1950s through the 1960s.

Judith Godwin - Pink Sky Pond, 1960

Judith Godwin, "Pink Sky Pond," 1960, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36 inches. Spanierman Modern.

A Virginia native, Judith Godwin arrived in New York City in 1953 during a period of major development in post-war American art. She was accepted into the Art Students League, studying with noted artists Will Barnet, Harry Sternberg, and Vaclav Vytlacil, as well as at Hans Hofmann’s schools in New York and Provincetown. As a young artist she quickly immersed herself in the city, befriended other artists and art dealers, and eventually began to exhibit her paintings and establish her reputation. With a lifetime of work now behind her—grounded in the fertile and evolutionary period explored here—Judith Godwin continues to reinvent the language of abstract painting in her studio.

Judith Godwin: Early Abstractions was developed by René Paul Barilleaux, Chief Curator/Curator of Art after 1945 at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas.

Here are a few words from Ira Spanierman on Godwin’s work:

When Bill Chiego, director of the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, sent me a copy of the catalogue for the museum’s 2008 exhibition, Judith Godwin: Early Abstractions, I felt an immediate excitement on seeing the work that was illustrated. Shortly thereafter, I visited Godwin’s studio. As we pulled paintings from the storage racks, I was overwhelmed by their fantastic emotional impact. I was struck by how instinctively Judith Godwin knows where her brush should go, how it should go, and what it should be doing. It was clear to me that her informed brushstrokes were the extension of a physicality and energy that expressed an inner emotional battle. I sensed an enormous struggle in her work, a tension between several forces, each contending for supremacy. The dynamic qualities and wonderful colors in her paintings communicated a sometimes fierce and violent dialogue. To me the paintings represent both the artist’s inner conflicts and her reactions to the frenzied and fluctuating state of the world at a time when the atom bomb was dropped and the moon was reached. Godwin’s paintings are compelling references to the power of those events that affect all of us in our daily lives.

Ira Spanierman

Sneak Peek: Stephen Pace, “Untitled (#55-06)”

Stephen Pace - Untilted (#55-06), 1955

Stephen Pace, "Untitled (#55-06)," 1955, oil on canvas, 55 x 72 inches, signed and dated lower right: "Pace-55"

In September 2011, Spanierman Modern will hold an exhibition of Abstract Expressionist paintings by Stephen Pace (1918—2010).  Included in the exhibition will be Pace’s Untitled (#55-06), a turbulent canvas which exemplifies the artist’s work of the period.

Previously, Stephen Pace’s Untitled (#55-06) was exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art’s Special International Circulating Exhibition “U.S. Representation: Fourth International Art Exhibition, Japan.” Organized by MoMA, the exhibition opened at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo on May 23, 1957, followed by a six month tour of several cities in Japan.

Stephen Pace - Poindexter Gallery and MoMA labels on verso

Poindexter Gallery and MoMA labels on verso.

Stephen Pace was selected by Frank O’Hara for inclusion in the exhibition which featured “younger” American artists; other artists included Sam Francis, Alfred Leslie, Raymond Parker, Milton Resnick, Jan Muller, Helen Frankenthaler, Cy Twombly, Joan Mitchell, Mitchael Goldberg, Grace Hartigan, Larry Rivers, Robert Goodnough and Elaine de Kooning.

The exhibition at Spanierman Modern will open September 9, 2011 and remain on view until October 1.

Detail of checklist from MoMA's 1957 Special International Circulating Exhibition: "U.S. Representation: Fourth International Art Exhibition, Japan.” Photograph courtesy the Museum of Modern Art.