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  • Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    A fascinating and highly entertaining look at one of the most important families of the Renaissance era--the Medici.
  • Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)
    Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)

    “Sister Wendy Beckett has transformed public appreciation of art through her astonishing knowledge, insight and passion for painting and painters.” This set includes Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, Sister Wendy's Odyssey, and Sister Wendy's Grand Tour. Simultaneously delightful and scholarly--this is a must have for anyone interested in art history.

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
    Exit Through the Gift Shop
    When British stencil artist Banksy traveled to Los Angeles to work, he came across obscure French filmmaker Thierry Guetta and his badly organized collection of videotapes involving the activities of graffiti artists. Inspired, Banksy assembled them with new footage to create this talked-about documentary, and the result is a mind-boggling and odd film (so strange as to be thought a hoax by some) about outsider artists and the definition of art itself.
  • The Impressionists
    The Impressionists
    A dramatization of the Impressionist movement as seen through the eyes of Claude Monet. Highly entertaining and informative.
  • The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    A very personal and revealing look at the personalities that created Impressionism.

Entries in Abstract Art (23)

Friday
Mar152019

Alyssa Monks: Blurring the Line Between Realism and Abstraction

Alyssa Monks - I Said No - 2018 - Oil on Linen - 36 x 36 inches - Forum Gallery, New YorkAfter graduating from such prestigious programs as the Lorenzo de’ Medici art school and the New York Academy of Art’s Graduate School of Figurative Art, Alyssa Monks (born 1977) has become one of the leading forces in subject painting. Monks’ paintings have been featured in numerous exhibitions everywhere from Germany, to Georgia, to New York City. She has been awarded the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant for Painting three times, and has become a member of the New York Academy of Art’s Board of Trustees.

She blurs and fuses layers of space in her almost photorealistic works, to create immersive abstraction that feels uniquely intimate and provocative. Of her own work Monks says, “My intention is to transfer the intimacy and vulnerability of my human experience into a painted surface.” While the artist’s complex works embody various techniques and styles, Monk’s response is, “I don’t think it’s the job of the artist to label their own work. I just paint it.”

Monday
Aug272018

Marcel Janco: Bridging Multiple Genres

Marcel Janco - Composition with Red Arrow - 1918 Plaster and casein on burlap, mounted on cardboard - 19 3/4 x 26 1/2 in. - The Art Institute of Chicago - Chicago, IL (click photo for larger image)Romanian-Israeli artist Marcel Janco (1895-1984) was born in Bucharest. In 1910–14 he exhibited at the salons in Bucharest and moved among modernist artists and poets. In 1916, while studying architecture, he was among the founders of Dada in Zurich. There he participated in the famous evenings at Café Voltaire where he was in charge of the stage and costume design. In the 1920s he was much involved in the Dada movement. He had ties with the Paris branch, participating there in an international exhibition of abstract art, and was one of the founders of the art and literature journal Contimporanul. He eventually drifted away from Dada and moved toward Constructivism, a style or movement in which assorted mechanical objects are combined into abstract mobile structural forms.

In 1940, following the rise of fascism in Romania, he immigrated with his family to Ereẓ Israel. In Israel, Janco participated in many important exhibitions including those of New Horizons and the Venice Biennale.Janco played a major role in the modernization of Israeli Art, importing the latest trends in Constructivism from Romania. Once established he joined local artists in developing a more abstract approach to depictions of the local landscape and also turned his attention to pertinent local themes. Janco's significance for avant-garde Israeli Art continues today, through the still-active artist's colony he established in Ein Hod.

Friday
Jul202018

Ilya Bolotowsky: An Advocate of Abstraction

Ilya Bolotowsky - Large Blue Horizontal - 1975 - Acrylic on canvas - 28 x 90 in. - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (click photo for larger image)Neo-Plasticism is a Dutch movement founded (and named) by artist Piet Mondrian. It flourished from 1920 to 1940. It is a rigid form of abstraction, whose rules allow only for a canvas sub-sected into rectangles by horizontal and vertical lines, and colored using a very limited palette.

The Russian born American painter Ilya Bolotowsky (1907-1981) was heavily influenced by the Neo-Plasticism. Bolotowsky was born in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg. After the Russian Revolution, his family moved to Istanbul in 1921, then to New York in 1923. The Neoplastic style of abstraction as defined by Mondrian would prove to be the greatest influence on Bolotowsky's work. He began producing his own strictly abstract art in the early 1930s, and his admiration for Mondrian's approach is evident even in such late works as the one featured here, Large Blue Horizontal. Like Mondrian, Bolotowsky strove to establish a balance of horizontals and verticals that would be simultaneously harmonious and dynamic.

Bolotowsky was a constant and strong advocate of abstract art. He was a founding member of American Abstract Artists, which included American artists as well as European artists living in America, among them Fernand Léger, Joseph Albers, Jean Hélion, and Mondrian himself. Bolotowsky was also a member of The Ten, an artists' group that included Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb. (All of these artists are discussed elsewhere on What About Art?)

During the Great Depression, Bolowtowsky created a number of abstract murals for buildings in New York, as part of the WPA’s Fine Arts Project. In 1946, he was appointed head of the art department at Black Mountain College in Asheville, NC, which ceased operations in 1957. This was the first of many teaching positions Bolowtowsky would hold throughout his career.

Monday
Apr022018

An Electric Peach Orchard—Arthur Dove

Arthur Dove - Electric Peach Orchard - 1935 - Oil on canvas - 20 1/4 x 28 in. - The Phillips Collection - Washington, D.C. (click photo for larger image)American artist Arthur Dove (1880-1946) (discussed in several posts on What About Art?) was “attracted to the timelessness of nature, which he interpreted into a modern abstract vocabulary of color, shape, line, and scale.”

One of the earliest American modernists—and the first American non-objective artist—Dove’s art reflects his belief that color and form are instruments with which to express the essence beneath the physical exterior of things.

Friday
Sep222017

Francesco Clemente: Idiosyncratic and Arresting Images

Francesco Clemente - Moon - 1980 - Gouache on twelve sheets of paper with fabric - 96 1/4 x 91 in. - Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY (click photo for larger image)Acting as a dark shaman of the post-modern era while reacting against the dominance of increasing abstraction in preceding generations, Italian artist Francesco Clemente (born 1952) helped reinvigorate painting by using recognizable human figures as his primary subject. In idiosyncratic and arresting images, he uses Neo-Expressionist techniques to represent late twentieth century people and their psychological conditions - fundamentally questioning what is real and what is of value to the human spirit.

By the 1980s, this resurgence had become part of an international return to the sensuousness of painting - and away from the stylistically cool, distant sparseness of Minimalism and Conceptualism.

"Collaboration is part of my work because the assumption of my work is that our identities are fragmented identities, that we're [each] not just one person but many persons.” - Francesco Clemente