Absence/Presence: Contemporary Abstraction

November 3 – December 11, 2011

Abstraction—the absence of recognizable subject matter and the emphasis of formal elements such as line, shape, color, and texture—has been a fundamental part of art since the early decades of the 20th century. Yet it has shared, in recent years, critical and popular attention with work that is conceptual, political, narrative, socially engaged, and increasingly digital. If Abstract Expressionism was the international language of painting during the 1940s and 50s and Hard Edge and Minimalism became equally ubiquitous a decade or two later, then decipherable imagery— whether original or appropriated, rendered or photographic—could be said to define much artistic practice from the 1990s to the present. While abstraction was never declared dead, it never fully disappeared, either. In fact, it seems to be having something of a renaissance lately, which in turn has been the catalyst for this exhibition.

Absence/Presence: Contemporary Abstraction explores a wide range of approaches to abstract art—gestural brushstrokes, linear compositions, minimalist forms and monochrome space—in paintings, drawings, sculpture, prints, and photographs. The exhibition spans the past two decades through the work of 23 regional, national, and internationally recognized artists, including Brad Brown, Reed Danziger, Mark Grotjahn, Robert Hartman, Mike Henderson, Amy Kaufman, Brice Marden, Julie Mehretu, Elizabeth Murray, David Nash, Gay Outlaw, Judy Pfaff, Laurie Reid, Steve Roden, Sean Scully, Richard Serra, Amy Sillman, Dean Smith, Frank Stella, Terry Winters, and John Zurier.