Join us for the opening reception of Black in the Abstract, Part 2: Hard Edges/Soft Curves, part of the six-series exhibition Outside the Lines. Senior Curator Valerie Cassel Oliver will lead a gallery walk-through at 6:30PM. Koagie Hots food truck will be onsite serving treats and refreshments and there will be a cash bar.
Conceived as the companion to Black in the Abstract, Part 1: Epistrophy, which explored the fragmentation of the figurative as well as the loose and expansive nature of abstraction, this section chronicles the history of black artists whose work relies on the drama of restraint. Drawing upon the historical framework of minimalist impulses in painting, this exhibition investigates the interwoven histories of black artists working within the monochromatic and geometric or “hard edge” impulses from the 1960s to the present.
Despite their virtual invisibility in the field of abstraction, black artists have engaged in this tradition for over six decades. Their adherence to the genre despite their lack of acknowledgment has empowered these artists to reach beyond the conventional and conceptually expand the discourse of their engagement with this genre. In bringing together three generations of artists in dialogue with one another, the exhibition highlights the trajectory of this practice as well as the conscious and unconscious lineages that emerge. From the deeply saturated 1968 monochromatic Yellow on Yellow by Felrath Hines to the pulsating binaries of Jennie C. Jones’ acoustic paintings, the very nature of these works are preoccupied with the infusion of movement within the two dimensional frame and the inherent dynamic interplay between materiality, texture, sound, movement, and cultural acuity. The exhibition also lays bare the tension surrounding painting then and now–the interrogation of its history and traditions as well as the willingness of artists to destroy, reinvent, and reframe the practice over time, all the while finding an uneasy reconciliation of their presence within the history of its tradition.
Black in the Abstract, Part 2: Hard Edges/Soft Curves features seventeen artists: Derrick Adams, McArthur Binion, Nathaniel Donnett, Sam Gilliam, David Hammons, Felrath Hines, Rashid Johnson, Jennie C. Jones, Simone Leigh, James Little, Rodney McMillian, Nadine Robinson, Leslie Smith III, Cullen Washington, Stanley Whitney, Jack Whitten, and Brenna Youngblood.