“What does abstraction mean in the 21st century?”

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
 
Five Points Gallery’s second exhibit of the year featured artists working in abstraction, and asked the question, “What does abstraction mean in the 21st century?” Personal Territories, in the West Gallery, included works by artists Lawrence Baker, Jacob Cullers, Nancy Daubenspeck, Jeanne Heifetz, Christopher Manning, Amber Schlatter, and Amy Vensel, while the East Gallery featured Tim Prentice, and the TDP Gallery, Edith Skiba LaMonica. Looking at the connection between the works, one could find a similar exploration of media and form, themes of change, and a questioning of the relationships between objects, pieces, and our human role in the environment, whether physical or digital.

So what exactly is abstraction in the 21st century? A collection of fragments, of pieces searching for relation? An inner journey, a quest to discover one’s relation to the world? An expression of emotion? Or, is it purely aesthetic? Viewing this exhibition, one could argue it is perhaps all, and more.
 

Picture

 

Picture

 
​Lawrence Baker’s is interested in the aesthetic of combined elements. About his work, Baker says, “painting is a reflexive, mental process of synthesizing an idea; transforming the abstract into the visual realm of the concrete.”
 

Picture

 
​During the artist talk on March 10th, Cullers described painting as an “excavation of self,” and a process of “construct, deconstruct, reconstruct.” Perhaps Cullers’ reason for making work can best be summed up in the phrase “#paintordie.” 
 

Picture

 

Picture

 
​Nancy’s almost mathematical pieces use X and points as minimal marks to evoke an idea of containment—how the field of marks can reveal and conceal different layers. They are luminous, meditative, orderly, and intimate. 
 

Picture

 

Picture

 
​Jeanne’s work is her forced confrontation with something terrifying—“the universal human drive to create beauty and order and ritual in the face of our own mortality.”
 

Picture

 

Picture

 
​Christopher Manning’s work uses storytelling and also explores ideas of change, connection, contemplation, and aesthetics. “We exist in a state of flux. My work contemplates that balance.”
 

Picture

 
​Uncertainty. Not knowing. The ‘unknown.’ What does it mean to take a risk? Schlatter’s work contemplates the various ways change can be both something to adapt to, and something to fear. 
 

Picture

 

Picture

 

Vensel’s work considers relationships, timing, and the randomness of life and the backlit landscape of social media, where photos of friends’ children coexist in the same space as political posts and horrifying news stories. About her work, she says:

“Using concrete trowels, large knives and rubber squeegees, I swirl, drag and scrape acrylic paint in taped-off sections on the canvas. Each section progresses at a different rate and accumulates its own particular history of marks and textures. And like events in life, these parts may relate to or interrupt each other.”

 

 

Picture

 

Picture

 

​In the East Gallery, Tim Prentice’s Gone with the Wind featured kinetic sculptures that stirred in the wind created by viewers walking by, movements that cast dancing shadows on the gallery walls, shadows that almost became their own artworks, even as they were a part of the sculpture. Prentice tries to concentrate on the movement, rather than the object created. From his statement:

“The engineer in me wants to minimize friction to make the air visible.
The architect studies matters of scale and proportion
The sailor wants to know the strength and direction of the wind.
The artist wants to understand its changing shape. Meanwhile the child wants to play.”

 

 

Picture

 

In the TDP Gallery, Edith Skiba LaMonica’s Elemental Rhythms immersed the viewer in an environment inspired by her observations of the woodland pond behind her studio. She’s interested in combining realistic and abstract elements to create a sense of something that is both familiar and mysterious. She’s also interested in changes that happen in the environment, and how “wild crowding plants, water and sky entwine, confounding the real and the illusory.”

The current exhibit, our third of the year, features Petricia Carrigan’s Headlands in the West Gallery, Eva Stengade”s Diversity—Speed Inside in the East Gallery, and Cat Balco’s Watch Your Step! in the TDP Gallery. The exhibit opened on Friday, March 31. The artist talk is Friday, April 21, at 6 PM. 

​                                                                                      *          *          *

Located in a historic downtown building, Five Points Gallery (FPG) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit contemporary art gallery showcasing professional regional, national and international visual artists. The gallery presents exhibitions in three beautifully renovated exhibition spaces, and has earned the reputation as one of Connecticut’s outstanding contemporary art venues. 

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin

Leave a Reply

About Us

Five Points Center For The Visual Arts is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. “with support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.”

Recent Posts

Follow Us