'Aspects of Abstraction' Review in Hyperallergic
2 July 2017John Yau writes of Aspects of Abstraction at Lisson Gallery for Hyperallergic Magazine – 'These Four Painters Won’t Be Ignored Any Longer'
A new exhibition tells us what we’ve been missing in the work of Marina Adams, Paul Feeley, Joanna Pousette-Dart, and Leon Polk Smith.
For years the art world has worn blinders. In the 1960s, it seemed that only poet-critics bothered with artists who were not allied with Pop Art, Minimalism, or Color Field painting. Since then, each decade and its theorists have focused on a narrow band of “significant artists” almost to the exclusion of all else. There were those who were considered central, and everyone else was assigned a lower rank. But for various reasons, that kind of hierarchical thinking no longer holds as much sway as it once did. Artists who were ignored have gotten fresh consideration. With the recent shows of Flora Crockett, Carmen Herrera, Jack Whitten, Ed Clark, Peter Saul, Merrill Wagner, and others, the art world shows signs of cracking open even further. Everyone knows that major revisions are needed, but no one knows what to do about it except to kick the can down the road and act like everything is hunky-dory.
This is one reason why Aspects of Abstraction at Lisson Gallery (June 23 – August 11, 2017) is so interesting: it further upsets the apple cart without declaring that as its purpose. The exhibition’s circumspect title makes no grand or inclusive claim. It brings together four diverse artists from different generations who share similar tendencies: Leon Polk Smith (1906-1996); Paul Feeley (1910-1966); Joanna Pousette-Dart; Marina Adams. If the exhibition is about connections and affinities – which I think it is – then Smith and Feeley are the starting points.
Image: Installation view - Aspects of Abstraction at Lisson Gallery, 138 Tenth Avenue, New York, 23 June – 11 August, 2017