This expansive, eye-opening exhibition of Abstract Expressionism writ small includes the work of fifty painters, some famous, others who have since drifted into obscurity. Each was part of the post-War Abstract Expressionist movement that revolutionized American art. Strikingly varied, the sixty-plus paintings and collages on view in Suitcase Paintings: Small Scale Abstract Expressionism confirm the bravura and originality of a movement which equated persona with style.
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 1, 6 — 8 pm.
Janet Sobel, Philip Guston, Perle Fine, Alfonso Ossorio, Robert Richenburg, Robert Motherwell, and Elaine de Kooning shared little by way of personal history or artistic training. They came together, chiefly in New York and its satellite communities, East Hampton and Woodstock, in the 1940s and 50s, to create a movement that transformed American art by asserting the primacy of paint. The paint itself, they believed, in its textures and application, carried the action and emotion of the painting.
Suitcase Paintings at Baruch College’s Mishkin Gallery from May 2 — June 3, 2008 demonstrates that Expressionist principles transcended size and scale. While the movement is generally associated with work that is big, bold and brash, this exhibition shows off its more intimate side. Though some of these paintings are muscular, forceful, even frenzied — Motherwell, Mary Abbott, Perle Fine — others convey surprising warmth, even delicacy.
An outstanding catalog essay by April Kingsley accompanies this exhibition. Kingsley points out the many intersecting lines connecting the Abstract Expressionists, including their Cubist antecedents, their shared patrons and galleries, and the long shadows cast by Pollock, Kline, and de Kooning, as well as the European masters Picasso and Braque.
This exhibition is particularly noteworthy for bringing a sizeable group of lesser known Abstract Expressionists out of the shadows. Along with such familiar figures as William Baziotes, Franz Kline and Robert Richenburg, the canvases of painters such as Yvonne Thomas, who began her career as an illustrator, and Albert Kotin, who taught for many years at the City College of New York, enrich our understanding of the Expressionist aesthetic as well as the fraternal bonds that helped to create this movement.
The Mishkin Gallery is located at 135, E. 22nd Street in Manhattan. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, Noon to 5 pm; and Thursdays, Noon to 7 pm.
Contact: Zane Berzins