Monday, August 27, 2012

Classic Abstraction


Dorothy Hood "Indian Summer Dream" ca 1980

A re-post of ModernHouston.net of my article in August 2012

When a gallery has a group show, it is good to have a few important artists to anchor the show. Works by the late great Texas Modernist Dorothy Hood and the phoenix rising of Ibsen Espada make for outstanding hook that got me interested to see the show.

Dorothy Hood made abstract paintings comparable to some of the master Color Field paintings, like Ronnie Landfield or Helen Frankenthaler. Hood mixes techniques of stain painting, collage, and large areas of colors. I am reminded of Georgia O'Keeffe's close- up paintings of flowers, only Hood seems to further this abstraction by zooming in closer and she is much more gestural in her painting approach. Ibsen Espada has dropped in and out of sight through his exhibition career, but his work is why I make sure I drop by the New Gallery on my gallery hop days. Often compared to Jackson Pollock, I think Ibsen Espada show a great deal more restraint for that he is not repeating the past EbEx artists, but continuing the conversation. The way he breaks his painting into rectangles of abstract gestures, keeps you guessing and very interested in each mini- painting that makes the whole of the work.

Linda Trappey Dautreuil is on my, ever growing list, of ‘ones to watch.’ Her abstracts sometimes reach close to the decorative abstraction I so loath, but then she pulls away some random shapes than complex mark making which bring her work back from the brink. Playing on that edge is so dangerous, because they work could devolve into kitsch abstractions. Trappery Dautreuil uses just the right amount of unsafe colors and allows her paintings to avoid a straightforward copying of any other artist to make things work. Earl Stanley quite a colorful painter. I am reminded of David Hockney’s paintings out of the 1980’s and 90’s, only Stanley pushed some of the work to further abstraction. I wish I could have seen his solo show at the New Gallery back in February, because I would love to see more of these enchanting works.

David Fulton, Susan Budge, and Roberta Harris help to round out the show with their own interesting musings. New Gallery/Thom Andriola will display this grouping of abstract artists through September 28th.

ModernHouston.net for more pictures.

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