Frank Bowling: Exhibitions Abound

Image

Lisa N. Peters

Recently included in our exhibition, Fifteen Contemporary Artists, Frank Bowling is also being featured in several current and upcoming individual and group exhibitions.  The solo shows consist of Frank Bowling: Recent Paintings, opening at Spanierman Modern on March 29 (view catalogue PDF), Frank Bowling: Poured Paintings, opening at Tate Britain on April 30, Frank Bowling: Recent Large Works, opening at Hales Gallery, London, on May 31, and Frank Bowling: Recent Small Works, opening at Chris Dyson Gallery, London, on July 6.  A two-man show of the work of Bowling and Dennis DeCaires opened February 28 at the University of Glyndwr, in Wrexham, North Wales.  Bowling is at the center of one the group exhibitions: Bowling’s Friends, opening at the Cello Factory, London, on May 23.  This show situates Bowling among artists of a younger generation whose work he admires.  The other group shows include Migrations, which opened January 31 at Tate Britain (this show explores the theme of migration from 1500 to the present, reflecting the range of the Tate Britain’s collections); British Design, 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age, opening at the Victoria and Albert Museum on March 31; and A Family Affair, opening at the Cello Factory on June 2.  On October 12, 2012, during Bowling’s exhibition at the Tate Britain, the culture critic and writer Courtney Martin will conduct a public conversation with the artist.  This will take place during Frieze week and will be held in the Clore Auditorium from noon to 1:30 pm.

Bowling’s shows, following the publication of Mel Gooding’s 2011 monograph on the artist and his many honors (including becoming the first black Royal Academician), give recognition to the richness of his art in its varied facets over many decades.

Bowling’s paintings reference many artistic sources.  The legacy of Pollock is present in their dripped and splattered surfaces.  There’s also a sense of Rothko’s shifting and resonant color that seems to hang in front of what is seen.  Older associations can also be discerned, among them the sublime and radiant light in the art of Turner.

Frank Bowling - 37528, 2008

Frank Bowling, "37528," 2008, acrylic on canvas, 32 x 29 inches

This is vividly apparent in 37528 (2008), a blazing and shimmering atmospheric image.  Its feeling is both celestial and aquatic.  The light is complex–a fiery glow, associated with masculine force, blended with a cooler haze, evoking the feminine.  A mood results that is mixed, both emotive and contemplative.  In this painting and others, canvas layers are stitched together, and edges have been cut with pinking shears, methods in which Bowling summons the memory of his mother, a seamstress who parlayed her talent at sewing dresses, hats, and Indian saris into a successful business. As a teenager, Bowling worked a route for his mother, taking orders for clothing and selling swatches and pattern books.

Frank Bowling, "Carriage," 2006, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 41 inches

Frank Bowling, "Carriage," 2006, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 41 inches

The light in Carriage (2006) is even more varied.  A vivid pink shape emerges from the center of the field, recalling the maps of Africa that Bowling featured in his art in the late 1960s, but here the shape is distorted and amorphous.  Is it suggestive of the tumult of hope and despair gripping Ethiopia and Somalia at the end of the last decade?  Whether it is symbolic or not, the painting has the dynamic subtlety that characterizes Bowling’s work along with the craftsmanship that stemmed from his youthful experience, endowing it with authencity.

Visit Spanierman Modern at Art Miami!

Spanierman Modern at Art Miami
Booth # B11
November 30-December 4, 2011

Spanierman Modern, Art Miami, 2011

Come visit Spanierman Modern at Art Miami, one of America’s premiere anchor fairs. Located at booth # B11, Spanierman Modern is featuring examples of Abstract Expressionist and Color Field works by modern and contemporary artists, including Frank Bowling, Dan Christensen, Jasmina Danowski, Friedel Dzubas, John Ferren, Perle Fine, Ibram Lassaw, Stephen Pace, Charlotte Park, Alma Woodsey Thomas, and Frank Wimberley.

Spanierman Modern, Art Miami, 2011

PRESS RELEASE
Art Miami
Nov. 30-Dec. 4, 2011

Contacts:
Christine Berry
Martha Campbell 

Spanierman Modern is pleased to announce the gallery’s participation in Art Miami, on view from November 30 through December 4 at the Art Miami Pavilion in midtown Miami at 3101 Northeast 1st Avenue. Our booth at this premiere anchor fair will feature examples of Abstract Expressionist and Color Field works by modern and contemporary artists, including Frank Bowling, Dan Christensen, Jasmina Danowski, Friedel Dzubas, John Ferren, Perle Fine, Ibram Lassaw, Stephen Pace, Charlotte Park, Alma Woodsey Thomas, and Frank Wimberley.

Spanierman Modern, Art Miami, 2011

Spanierman Modern, Art Miami, 2011

The Abstract Expressionist examples reveal the vitality of this style, which emerged in the mid-twentieth century, a time when artists saw art as a forum for action, creating works as an expression of freedom and a way standing in opposition to a homogenized culture.  Charlotte Park’s Lament (ca. 1955) demonstrates the muscular, emotionally powerful approach that has recently brought a significant amount of attention to her work. Stephen Pace’s Untitled (55-06) is a heavily worked canvas in which dynamic and robust movement evokes the Baroque tradition.  Perle Fine’s Theme #1 (1951) conveys the new energy of the day, but with a distinctly refined technique of precise linework and subtle color.  In Loom (1966), Ibram Lassaw united biomorphism with constructivist and gestural painting methods to produce novel luminous sculptures that he called “paintings in 3D.”

The Color Field movement brought with it a more temperate mood and greater detachment on the part of the artist.  A leading figure in this offshoot of Abstract Expressionism, Dan Christensen pushed the limits of paint and new techniques.  In Purple Anchor (1969), one of his “plaids,” he used rollers and window-washing squeegees to create works that, unique to a Minimalist aesthetic, are highly sensuous.  Friedel Dzubas is best known for his lyrical images, such as Turning Point (1983), which elicit a contemplative feeling in the viewer. Alma Woodsey Thomas, who became a Color Field adherent at age seventy-five, is represented by Spoop Sees Sun Rise on Earth (1971), one of her vivid, patterned canvases that have been compared to Byzantine mosaics. A contemporary artist working in the Color Field mode, Frank Bowling makes extensive discrete adjustments to the surfaces of his works, creating an immediate sense of brilliantly nuanced light as well as a feeling of the cosmic, as in Courteous Shade (1974).

Perle Fine: The Cool Series (1961-1963)

PRESS RELEASE
Perle Fine: The Cool Series (1961-1963)
November 10-December 10, 2011
Contact: Christine Berry (christineberry@spanierman.com)
Gallery Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:30-5:30

Perle Fine - Cool Series, No. 46, Spanking Fresh

Perle Fine, "Cool Series, No. 46, Spanking Fresh," ca. 1961-1963, oil on canvas, 50 x 60 inches

Spanierman Modern is pleased to announce the opening on November 10, 2011 of Perle Fine: The Cool Series (1961-1963), presenting the distinctive Color Field paintings created by Fine, an artist who was at the center of the Abstract Expressionist movement.  Developing according to Fine from “a need within the painting to express more,” the Cool Series paralleled the gestalt in the art world in the early 1960s, as artists turned from the angst of the art of an earlier generation to a more tranquil mode in which a painting, through its form and color, spoke for itself.  Although new attention has been focused on Fine’s art in recent years, this is the first exhibition to feature this series since they were first seen in 1963 and 1964.  Curated by Christine Berry, the show is accompanied by a catalogue, available from the gallery for $25, with full-color illustrations and an essay by Lisa N. Peters, Ph.D.

Perle Fine - Cool Series, No. 29, Cool Blue Cold Green

Perle Fine, "Cool Series, No. 29, Cool Blue Cold Green," ca. 1961-1963, oil on canvas, 60 x 70 inches

Born in Boston, Perle Fine moved to New York in about 1927, enrolling first at the Grand Central School of Art and then at the Art Students League.  In 1933, she was among the first students at Hans Hofmann’s New York school; she also studied with Hofmann in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  Committed to abstraction at the start of her career, Fine began to receive recognition in the early 1940s, when she showed at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century Gallery and the Museum of Nonobjective Painting (now the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum). She was among the few women artists to become part of The Club, the elite artists’ group initiated in 1949, that was spearheaded by Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning; the latter invited Fine to join.  A friend of many noted artists of the time, including Lee Krasner, Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, de Kooning, and Mark Rothko, Fine was represented by several important galleries, including those of Nierendorf, Betty Parsons, and Tanager.

Perle Fine - Cool Series, No. 26 , First Love

Cool Series, No. 26 , First Love, ca. 1961-1963, oil on canvas, 47 x 59 inches

In 1954, Perle Fine moved to Springs on the east end of Long Island, where she and her husband, Maurice Berezov, built a one-room studio-house in the woods. Fine began her Cool Series in this context in 1961, creating them all of a sudden after destroying a group of works she had been producing for her next exhibition.   Limiting her imagery to rectangles and squares placed off center on mostly monochromatic grounds, she sought to eliminate “irrelevancies” in order to exact an explicit and clear image.  Fine’s economy of means and the universalist implications of her stable yet dynamic arrangements can be associated with her long admiration for the art of Piet Mondrian, whom she knew. Yet her mixed and atmospheric colors depart from Mondrian’s limited palette as do her edges—which vary from crisp to blurred— endowing her work with a unique delicacy and poetic equilibrium, qualities that were given recognition by the critics of the time.  With their glowing light and dignified, reductive arrangements, the Cool Series paintings express a meditative metaphysical experience.  Related in their spiritual content to Mark Rothko’s late-period art, Fine’s paintings envelop the viewer in emotional experiences that are at once volatile and restrained. Created from 1961 to 1963, the Cool Series were among the first examples of Color Field painting, revealing Fine’s attunement to the spirit of her time.

Perle Fine displayed her work extensively in solo and group shows during her lifetime. Following her death from pneumonia in 1988, she was the subject of exhibitions at Hofstra University in 1974 and 2009 and at the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, East Hampton, New York, in 2005.  Her work is represented in many numerous museum collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and many others.

View the exhibition

View the catalogue PDF
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Abstract Expressionism and its Legacy

PRESS RELEASE
Abstract Expressionism and Its Legacy
October 6–November 5, 2011
On view at Spanierman Gallery, LLC
Gallery Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:30-5:30
Contact: Gina Greer (ginagreer@spanierman.com)

John Little - Phobos, 1958

John Little, "Phobos," 1958, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

Spanierman Gallery is pleased to announce the opening on October 6, 2011 of Abstract Expressionism and Its Legacy, presenting a group of paintings reflective of the period when Abstract Expressionism was in its formative years.  This was a time when American artists faced existential dilemmas in the aftermath of World War II and the escalating Cold War arms race. The works evoke the artists’ belief in action painting as a means of embodying freedom. In this manner, they reacted against totalitarianism, old rules, and the devastations of the atomic bomb and the recent war. Taking risks in their work, artists sought to step into the unknown, giving rise to a new idiom. As the noted critic Harold Rosenberg wrote in Artnews in December 1952: “The big moment came when it was decided to paint . . . Just to paint. The gesture on the canvas was a gesture of liberation, from Value—political, aesthetic, moral.”

John Ferren - Utitled, 1962

John Ferren, "Utitled," 1962, gouache and collage on paper, 26 x 20 inches

During the 1930s, when American Regionalism and Social Realism predominated, a number of American artists held to abstract methods, working primarily in hard-edge geometric styles stemming from Cubism, Neoplasticism, and Constructivism. It was not until the late 1940s that the gestural methods and freeform approach of Jackson Pollock and other artists began to emerge, signifying the radical new art and philosophical stance. While many of the innovative modes that arose were spurred by the arrival of European artist-emigrés, fleeing their war-torn homelands, others sprang sui generis from the exhilarating intellectual milieu generated by the artists and critics who gathered in Greenwich Village. Several of the artists made the transition from an earlier linear mode to the new action-painting methods, among them Rolph Scarlett and Gertrude Glass Greene. Scarlett, who had met Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky in Europe in the 1930s, was among the first American artists to develop a  nonobjective style. In the 1950s, he turned from his structured designs of the late 1930s and 1940s—avidly collected by Hilla Rebay for the Museum of Non-Objective Museum)—to produce works such as Black, White, and Gray with Sand Drip (1950s), in which he flung and dripped sand-embedded pigment into a decentered composition, suggestive of the theme of free will seeking escape from confinement. Exposed to progressive currents in Europe during the 1920s, Greene was a pioneering figure in the development of American geometric abstraction and a founder of the American Abstract Artists. In the 1950s, she brought an organic emphasis to her Cubist-based images such as Structure and Space (1951), using a palette knife to create a sense of movement and energy that was new in her work.

Perle Fine - Black on Yellow, 1952

Perle Fine, "Black on Yellow," 1952, oil on canvas, 23 x 30 inches

Abstract Expressionism has often been considered a masculine style that women could not fully achieve. Nonetheless, several women directly witnessed and played important roles in the era’s gestalt, demonstrating a presence to which scholars are today giving recognition. Among them, Perle Fine was at the center of the movement throughout her career. She studied with Hans Hofmann, participated in exhibitions at the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, was a member of the elite artists’ gatherings at The Club, showed her work at major galleries that promoted the avant-garde (including those of Nierendorf, Betty Parsons, and Tanager), and was close to many of the leading Abstract Expressionists, such as Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and Ad Reinhardt. In The Forest (1949), Fine denied the completeness of her shapes, creating a dynamic interplay between form and space that evokes a mystical state of being. Mary Abbott was another early exponent of Abstract Expressionism. One of few women to attend the short-lived experimental school, called The Subject of the Artist School (which fostered the careers of Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Robert Motherwell), as well as also a member of The Club, Abbott did not curtail her art due to ideas as to how women should paint. She created explosively electric images such as Mr. Lee (1950).

Judith Godwin - Polar Night, 1994

Judith Godwin, "Polar Night," 1994, bristle brush and oil on canvas, 52 x 72 inches

Abstract Expressionism provided a means by which artists could define their identities through the distinctiveness of their brush marks. Such a quest is apparent in Stephen Pace’s Untitled (55-31) (1955), in which strokes of charcoal gray battle for dominance over iridescent blues and reds. In John Little’s Phobos (1958) broad brush movements seem to be in a violent contest, with no single color or stroke predominating. Little perhaps sought to evoke the Greek god named in the title, a personification of the fear brought on by war (Little served in the Navy during World War II). Both Pace and Little studied with Hofmann. Pace was a long-time friend of Milton Avery, and Little was a neighbor and friend of Pollock and Lee Krasner in Springs, East Hampton. John Ferren, who was close to Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and John Helion while living in Paris in the early 1930s, also joined the Springs community around Pollock in the late 1950s. His distinctive Abstract Expressionist style, in which he considered the movement and complexity within simple, subtly shifting colors and nuanced brush handling, reflects his exploration of Eastern philosophy.

While some artists of the era believed that it was only through nonobjective expression that an artist could venture into a new world, one without borders or limits, others felt that the natural world could continue to provide the basis for creative exploration within an abstract forum. Such a broadminded attitude characterized Betty Parsons, a leading and legendary dealer of the day whose wide-ranging stable of artists included “giants,” such as Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Clyfford Still, and less prominent figures working in many different styles. Herself an artist throughout her life, Parsons drew from the rich plethora of the art she showed in her gallery in her own work, while using a vibrant palette and a flexible technique to interpret the spirit of places she experienced in her many travels, as in Blue Field (1957). Ideology was also not a barrier for Charlotte Park (wife of James Brooks and a friend of Pollock and Krasner), who developed a dynamic, effervescent approach to express a wide emotional range. In Zachary (ca. 1955), she used modulated hues, cursive, undulating lines, and floating forms that call to mind the natural world without being specifically referential.

A number of artists have continued the Abstract Expressionist tradition, using its painterly language as well as following its mission, to venture beyond the known and to explore the precarious nature of reality. Among them, Judith Godwin, who also studied with Hofmann and was a close friend of Kline and Brooks, paints with emotionally expressive color and line, conveying complex feelings, inner tensions, and a struggle for self-awareness. Her Pink Sky Pond (1960) reveals a mood of lyricism disrupted by intonations of dissension. Frank Bowling (a native of British Guyana), who 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.), delves through his heavily worked surfaced paintings into a realm between associative impressions and abstract objectivity—the latter advocated by Clement Greenberg, with whom Bowling carried on a Socratic dialogue in the 1970s. In Kaieteurfow (1980), the vision of Abstract Expressionism is present in Bowling’s many discrete adjustments to the surface, which create a sense of unleashed and variable time, both immediate and cosmic.

Often described in terms of its revolutionary stylistic features, Abstract Expressionism was also a way of thinking and looking at the world and the self. For artists then and now, its methods and ideals have spawned an unbounded range of creative results. Of the artists of his era, Rosenberg wrote in 1952: “The American vanguard painter took to the white expanse of the canvas as Melville’s Ishmael took to the sea. On the one hand, a desperate recognition of moral and intellectual exhaustion; on the other, the exhilaration of an adventure over depths in which he might find reflected the true image of his identity.” Such exhilaration can be felt in these powerful, sensuous, and evocative works.

Burgoyne Diller: Pioneer of Minimalism—Drawings and Collages

PRESS RELEASE
Burgoyne Diller: Pioneer of Minimalism—Drawings and Collages
October 6–November 5, 2011
Gallery Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:30-5:30
Contact: Alice Hammond (alicehammond@spanierman.com)

Burgoyne Diller - Untitled (Second Theme), 1964

Burgoyne Diller, "Untitled (Second Theme)," 1964, graphite and crayon on paper, 10-7/8 x 8-1/8 inches

Spanierman Modern is pleased to announce the opening on October 6, 2011 of Burgoyne Diller: Pioneer of Minimalism—Drawings and Collages.  Including works created from the mid-1930s through the mid-1960s, this exhibition demonstrates the precise and skillful technique with which Burgoyne Diller (1906-1965) created the drawings and collages that he produced throughout his career.  Rendered as independent works, these dynamic geometric images stand on their own and reveal Diller’s contribution to the rise of the Minimalist movement.  The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, including full-color illustrations of the works on view, and an essay by Ina Prinz, Ph.D., director of the Arithmeum, Bonn, Germany, and the author of a forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Diller’s works, which builds on her doctoral dissertation on the artist of 2004.  The catalogue is available for $15 from the gallery.

Burgoyne Diller - Untitled, ca. 1934

Burgoyne Diller, "Untitled," ca. 1934, tempera on paper, 16-1/8 x 21-1/8 inches

In his painting and sculpture, Burgoyne Diller made a critical contribution to the development of abstraction in America, but the trajectory of his ideological and aesthetic exploration is best revealed in the drawings he produced throughout his career.  For Diller, drawing was the forum to think through his questions and evolving ideas, and he worked in a more fluid manner than in the other mediums for which his process was extremely painstaking, consisting of many stages of preparation and execution.

The practice of ongoing drawing was advocated by Diller’s teacher Hans Hofmann, whose motto was: “drawing is the daily bread of the artist.”  Hofmann instilled in Diller a belief in the importance each decision can make in a drawing; Diller recorded his teacher’s statement that “a millimeter in the drawing may mean a mile in difference in the effect.”  Following this adage, Diller merged a spontaneous process in his drawings, with one in which he carefully considered the ramifications of each nuance of shape and tone in a design, resulting in works that are elegant and inventive.  Diller’s drawings and collages have received scholarly attention over the years, yet Dr. Prinz is the first to authoritatively catalogue these works and clarify their aesthetic properties.  Her contribution to the catalogue, including an overview of Diller’s biography, and a specific analysis of each work in the exhibition, provides a new understanding of this artist who held a pivotal role in both the promotion of abstract art in America and in the adaptation of the tenets of European modernism to an American abstract idiom.

Melville Price: Paintings—1960s

PRESS RELEASE
Melville Price: Paintings—1960s
October 6 – November 5, 2011

Gallery Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:30-5:30
Contacts: Martha Campbell (mcampbell@spanierman.com)

Melville Price, Holiday, 1964

Melville Price, "Holiday," 1964, oil and mixed media on canvas, 51 x 41 inches

Spanierman Modern is pleased to announce the opening on October 6, 2011 of Melville Price: Paintings1960s. Featuring works in which Price combined Abstract Expressionist methods with a Pop Art sensibility, this exhibition reveals the artist’s astute awareness of contemporary experience during a tumultuous decade, while demonstrating his considerable skill as both an abstract and representational painter.

Throughout his career, Melville Price was an artist of great intensity for whom painting was a constant means of revelation and exploration. His art of the 1940s and ’50s was edgy and eclectic, demonstrating his deep understanding of the visual lexicon of modernity. He was held in esteem by his mentor, Joseph Stella, his close friend, Franz Kline, and his circle of artist colleagues, including Willem de Kooning, Conrad Marca-Relli, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, Larry Rivers, and Esteban Vincente. During this time, Price was among the group of artists to gather at the Cedar Street Tavern in Greenwich Village. He also participated in The Club, the intellectual center of the New York School, led by Kline and de Kooning. Price was included in group exhibitions at the Hugo, Bodley, Charlie Egan, and Peridot galleries (he had several solo exhibitions at Peridot).

Melville Price, USA, 1967

Melville Price, "USA," 1967, magna, oil and mixed media on canvas, 81 x 61 inches

In 1951, Melville Price began to teach part time at the Philadelphia Museum School of Art, while keeping his studio in Manhattan.  In 1954, he closed his New York studio and moved to Philadelphia, where he continued to teach and brought in Kline as a fellow instructor. Four years later, Price went to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for a one-year position as artist-in-residence.  He retained this job for the thirteen years that followed, until his untimely death in 1970.

Price’s distance from New York afforded him the chance to follow his own path. Yet, his mixed-media images of the 1960s, featured in this exhibition, reveal his full awareness of the art of this decade, as he responded to the dazzling stimuli of modern mass society and its mechanized environment. Robert Rauschenberg is the artist of the era with whom his imagery is the closest, and works such as Price’s Holiday (1964) can be related to some of Rauschenberg’s silkscreen paintings of the same years.  However, Price did not try to step back from his engagement in the design and creative process as did many Pop artists, who sought to obscure their own handiwork.  Merging gestural strokes, drips, academic methods, and biomorphic shapes, Price built dynamically balanced compositions and textural surfaces.

Americana appears in a number of Price’s works such as USA (1967), as he, like other artists of his time, challenged patriotic symbols and the status quo at time of the Vietnam War—Price and his second wife Barbara Gillette Price were very active politically, including marching with Martin Luther King in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965, and reacting against the injustice and inhumanity in the South during the 1960s. By including letters, numbers, commercial signs, newspaper and magazine clippings, cartoon blow ups (such as huge red lips), and brightly colored, almost psychedelic patterns, Price captured a sense of the passing world during a time of social upheaval.  In several paintings, he featured the female form as a means of posing questions about identity and association, as in his enigmatic, The Lady and The Lion series of 1967.  Through his original way of representing the era that he lived, Price reacted against its pervasive media hype, ultimately conveying his belief in the freeing nature of creative expression and its power to transcend a homogenized culture.

Melville Price’s work may be found in many notable private and public collections including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama; the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences of West Virginia, Charleston; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Fayette Art Museum, Alabama; Greenville County Museum of Art, South Carolina; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Milwaukee Art Museum; the Sarah Moody Gallery, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Rockford Art Museum, Illinois; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago; and the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky.

Frank Bowling, RA, O.B.E., Book Signing

Reception and book signing by the artist
Tuesday, October 4, 2011 from 6 to 8 p.m.

RSVP to elizabethruebush@spanierman.com
For further information please contact:
Martha Campbell (mcampbell@spanierman.com)

Frank Bowling monograph by Mel Gooding

"Frank Bowling," monograph by Mel Gooding

Spanierman Modern is pleased to announce that Frank Bowling, RA, O.B.E., will be at the gallery on October 4, 2011 from 6 to 8 p.m. to sign copies of the new monograph about his work by professor, art writer, critic, and curator, Mel Gooding. Published by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, the 160-page book is lavishly illustrated and covers Bowling’s career to the resent. Addressing Bowling’s life, methods, and the poetic nature of his art, Gooding attests to the fact that Bowling is one of the finest artists to emerge from the artists’ circles of New York and London in recent decades. The book, entitled Frank Bowling, is available through the gallery for $45; New York residents, please add sales tax.

Frank Bowling - Oddysseus's Footfalls, 1982

Frank Bowling, "Oddysseus's Footfalls," 1982, acrylic on canvas, 93-1/4 x 70 inches

Frank Bowling has received and is continuing to receive an exceptional amount of  attention and acclaim. He is the first black artist in history to be elected to the Royal Academy, London, and he was honored in 2008 with the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) for his service to art. This year, two important shows of Bowling’s work were held: in May, the Royal Academy, London, opened Journeyings, an exhibition of Bowling’s recent works on paper that closes October 23; from late August through early September, he was prominently featured in RCA Black, an exhibition held at the Royal College of Art Students Union, which was organized by the college in collaboration with the African and African Caribbean Design Diaspora. Next year, Bowling will be honored with more notable shows: his paintings will be included in a group exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, opening in April 2012, and his art will be on display at the Tate Gallery, London from April through November 2012. Spanierman Modern will hold an exhibition in April of Bowling’s new work to coincide with these two shows.

“With his recent flurry of exhibitions, Frank Bowling is taking London by storm,” began Stephanie Cotela Tanner in an article on Bowling posted in August on the website artrabbit.com.  For Tanner’s discussion of Bowling’s career, including an interview with him, visit http://www.artrabbit.com/uk/features/features/august_2011/frank_bowling

Artists of the East End

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Artists of the East End

September 8 – October 1, 2011
Gallery Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:30-5:30

Charlotte Park - Untitled (Red, White, and Green)

Charlotte Park, "Untitled (Red, White, and Green)," oil on paper mounted on canvas, 18 x 24 inches

Spanierman Gallery is pleased to announce the opening on Thursday, September 8, 2011 of Artists of the East End, featuring works created from the mid-twentieth century to the present by artists who have lived and worked on eastern Long Island.  The longest intact artists’ colony in America, the East End of Long Island has been a gathering place for artists since the mid-nineteenth century.  Buoyed by this long history, the area’s sustained appeal is due primarily to two factors: its intense beauty, comprising its distinctive brilliant light and a coastal landscape of extreme variety, and its close connection to the avant-garde art and literary circles of New York City.   Comfortable among like-minded colleagues, artists have always felt free to experiment on the East End, producing a vast array of works, including many of landmark significance.

John Ferren - SKI, 1952

John Ferren, "SKI," 1952, oil on canvas, 47-1/4 x 36 inches

Of the waves of artists who have made their way to eastern Long Island, John Little and John Ferren belong to the circle that formed around Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner in the mid-twentieth century.  Little frequently visited Pollock and Krasner in Springs, East Hampton, before 1948, when he moved next door to them, purchasing Duck Creek Farm, a house and barn.  In the following year, Little was included along with them in the first annual Artists of the Region exhibition at Guild Hall in East Hampton.  A two-man show of the work of Pollock and Little was held at the same venue in 1957.  Painting with bold gestures, Little explored the “inter-vibration” of areas of color, gradually developing a flattening of his paint layers and a use of white to give breathing space to explosive arrangements such as Akiton (1973).  John Ferren, who was close to Picasso, Miró, and John Helion while living in Paris in the early 1930s, evolved an Abstract Expressionist style in the early 1950s, a time when he was an active member of The Club, the intellectual center of the New York School that was led by Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning.  Ski (1952) reflects Ferren’s continued exploration of Eastern philosophy, in which he considered the movement and complexity within simple, subtly shifting colors and varied brush handling.  In 1958 he bought property in Springs, joining the growing community around Pollock.

Betty Parsons - Flying Duck

Betty Parsons, "Flying Duck," 1981, mixed media on wood, 34 x 21 x 1 inches

As an art dealer with a rare perspicacity, Betty Parsons held ground-breaking shows for many avant-garde artists including Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Clyfford Still.  Also a dedicated artist in her own right, Parsons painted and sculpted throughout her life, creating a body of work that is today garnering significant attention.  Parsons began to work on Long Island after receiving an unexpected inheritance in 1959 that enabled her to purchase land on a cliff overlooking the sea in Southold, on the North Fork of the East End. In Southold, she painted as well as created constructions from the wood scraps she found on the beach, combining them into witty structures that evoke anthropomorphic associations.

Charlotte Park is another woman artist from the Abstract Expressionist era whose work is receiving long overdue recognition.  She was married in 1947 to the artist James Brooks and knew Pollock and Krasner from that time forward, renting a New York studio in a space where they had lived and joining them in establishing studios on Long Island, first in Montauk, and then in Springs.  Park launched her own version of Abstract Expressionism in the early 1950s, achieving radiance in works such as an untitled painting from this time in which shapes are inextricably interwound. Rich cursive lines and Park’s favorite crimson-orange palette produce an allover surface that evokes the splendor of a medieval floral tapestry.  Such paintings have prompted critics recently to describe Park’s work as a “revelation” and to praise her as a “great colorist,” while observing her “extremely refined understanding of compositional structure.”

Theodore Stamos - Willow, 1950

Theodore Stamos, "Willow," 1950, oil on masonite, 23-1/2 x 17-7/8 inches

An important member of the first generation of Abstract Expressionists, Theodore Stamos was renowned for the passion and originality of his vision.  A firm believer in the role of nature in the creation of a work of art, he sought to capture “the idea of a thing,” making his emotions visible, as in Willow (1950), a reflective image in muted tones that is suggestive of geologic and marine life.  Stamos settled on the North Fork of Long Island in the town of East Marion in about 1951.

A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, David Budd moved in 1954 to New York City. There he studied at the Art Students League and joined fellow artists at the Cedar Street Tavern, including Pollock, Kline, and de Kooning.   Soon thereafter he began to spend summers in East Hampton, where he became an active part of the community of artists on the East End.  Influenced by Pollock in particular, Budd developed a style blending a lyrical sensibility with a powerful gestural handling created through a liberal use of the palette knife.  His approach of the time (before his departure in 1962 for a decade in Europe) is demonstrated in The Creeks (1958), named for the estate of Alfonso Ossorio in East Hampton, which was a popular gathering place for artists in the 1950s.

Dan Christensen, an artist associated with the Color Field movement, had a relentless desire to experiment with tools and pictorial space, as he expanded the limits, range, and possibilities of paint and form through both systematic and spontaneous methods. The noted critic Clement Greenberg wrote in 1990: “Dan Christensen is one of the painters on whom the course of American art depends.”  Inspired initially by the work of Pollock, Christensen was part of a group of young artists who revived painting after a period in which minimalism had prevailed.  His Pale Rumor (1968) demonstrates his early use of the spray paint gun to create shimmering allover surface effects.  Christensen had a long association with the East End, which he began visiting in the mid-1960s.  He was living full-time in Springs with his wife, Elaine Grove, at the time of his death in 2007.

Frank Wimberley - Nile Crest, 1990

Frank Wimberley - "Nile Crest," 1990, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 44 inches

Of the contemporary artists who continue to find contentment on the East End, Frank Wimberley is among the best known.  A resident of New York City and Sag Harbor, he is esteemed by his fellow artists for his masterly abstractions, consisting of unusual manipulations of paint, color, and texture.  Dragging and compressing paint, often using a large spatula to allow underpainting to escape through the surface, Wimberley references Abstract Expressionism’s optical intensity, as in sensuous images such as Nile Crest (1990).  His paintings draw on the improvisational qualities of jazz music and the crystalline waterways of the South Fork.  At the 72nd Annual Artists Members Exhibition at Guild Hall (East Hampton) in 2010, Wimberley was awarded top honors and a future show, which will take place at Guild Hall in 2012.

Carol Hunt relies on color and gesture to produce openly expressive paintings filled with dynamically interactive bold strokes.  Often deriving her inspiration from her surroundings on Long Island’s East End (she lives in Southampton), her images evoke fleeting visual thoughts jotted down for later analysis.  Verbally expressive without specific words, images such as Improvisation 16 (2008) are both self-revelatory and speak to the collective unconscious in their evocation of archetypal forms.

Elaine Grove - Hammer Head, 2011

Elaine Grove - "Hammer Head," 2011, steel and wood, 22 x 20 x 9 inches

Carrying on the tradition of the welded steel constructions of Picasso, David Smith, Julio Gonzales, and Anthony Caro, Elaine Grove creates sculptural “drawings in space” in which metal forms appear animated from within. Residing in Springs, Grove incorporates “found objects” into her work, but her focus is on their shapes and relations in space rather than their original purpose.  Witty resonances and puns reside in her inventive constructions, which are often commentaries on society.