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‘Abstractions: New Modernism’ on Ann Street

February 27th, 2013

The Ann Street Gallery presents its newest exhibition “Abstractions: New Modernism,” with an Artist Reception on Saturday, March 2 from 6:30-8:30 pm. This event is free and the public is cordially invited to attend.

Rosalyn Driscoll "Danae" Rawhide and Copper.

Rosalyn Driscoll “Danae” Rawhide and Copper.

The contemporary art scene welcomes new generations of artists gleaning inspiration from the practice of the non-representational. One can see such inspired works in our newest exhibition “Abstractions: New Modernism,” which highlights a group of artists who make a deliberate case for abstraction, while breathing new life into the genre. Within this exhibition, the extension of abstraction runs through various and diverse mediums: painting, drawing, sculpture, collage and digital images, while resisting grand generalizations and addressing skeptical attitudes and misunderstandings we often bring to our experience of abstract art.

Western abstract art has been with us for hundreds of years, but many of us still wander around museums and art galleries perplexed as to the meaning of abstract works. New York critic Clement Greenberg acknowledged this situation when he wrote: “The pictures …startle because they seem to rely on ungoverned spontaneity and haphazard effects; or because, at the other extreme, they present surfaces which appear to be largely devoid of pictorial incident.” Then one might ask, “What is abstract art good for?” “What is the value of paintings, sculptures or drawings that do not seem to show anything except pictures of nothing?”

For a clearer understanding of abstract art one can look to its beginnings in the late 19th century, when abstraction was “invented” as a result of then avant-garde movements including Impressionism and Post- Impressionism. These styles of painting reduced the importance of original subject matter and emphasized the creative process of painting. In the first decade of the 20th century, European painters began to abandon the established Western conventions of imitating nature and searched for new methods of form and expression sparking a movement of abstraction.

What is clear, is that abstract art can be interpreted in various ways and relies on reflection for meaning to emerge. It doesn’t matter greatly whether someone likes or dislikes abstract art. It is a common tendency of people to narrow the field of what they consider permissible in art to their own personal prejudices. “Abstractions: New Modernism” offers an opportunity to transcend this way of thinking, to remain open for any individual response, especially those not confined to any single dictate or definition. The work of the artist is to affect the nature of the viewer’s response to their work.

Artists featured: Cyrille Allannic, Vivian Altman, Sedar Arat, Sarah Bednarek, Karlos Carcamo, Rosalyn Driscoll, Susan English, Catherine Evans, Kathryn Gabriel, Victoria Manning, Sanford Mirling, Kirsten Nash, Barbara Smith, Dina White and Jake Winiski.

The exhibition is on view through Saturday, April 13. The exhibition was curated by Virginia Walsh, director of the Ann Street Gallery.

The Ann Street Gallery is a nonprofit art gallery specializing in contemporary emerging and established artists. The gallery is located at 104 Ann Street in Newburgh, viewing hours are Wednesday and Thursday 9 am-5 pm (closed for lunch 1:30-2:30 pm) and
Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. -5 pm.

For more information regarding “Abstractions: New Modernism” and the Ann Street Gallery, contact Virginia Walsh, director at (845) 784-1146 or vwalsh@annstreetgallery.org, or visit www.annstreetgallery.org.

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