A renaissance of abstraction has recently surfaced across New York. Abstraction fell out of favor in the late twentieth century with the emergence of postmodernism but at the beginning of the twenty-first century, abstraction has arisen from the ashes of its professed death with a power and potency rivaling its inception.
This phenomenon is not a return to modernist history, but is specific to our current century. The reasons for the resurgence of abstraction and its new approaches are considered in NEW NEW YORK: Abstract Painting in the 21st Century, on view at The Art Gallery at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa now through December 4.
The exhibition takes its title from the New York School, a movement by artists that established abstract expressionism in New York City in the 1940s. It surveys a cross-section of nearly thirty artists currently living and producing abstract paintings in this same historical city. While attentive to each artist’s distinctive, unique and individualized contributions, the exhibition examines the meanings they make collectively as well. Many of these artists also contribute to reshaping the new abstraction through their writings and curatorial projects.
Artists featured in NEW NEW YORK are Elise Adibi, Jonathan Allmaier, Timothy Atticus, Paul Behnke, Amanda Church, Vince Contarino, Paul Corio, Peggy Cyphers, Theresa Daddezio, Lisa Corinne Davis, Rob de Oude, Jon Elliott, Robert Otto Epstein, Franklin Evans, Rico Gatson, Enrico Gomez, Clare Grill, Shirley Kaneda, Julie Mehretu, Lucas Moran, George Negroponte, Odili Donald Odita, Gary Petersen, Jenna Ransom, Jered Sprecher, Barbara Takenaga, Julie Torres, Terry Winters, Robert Yasuda and John Zinsser.
Reflecting a range of current approaches to abstraction, the artists carry over lessons from twentieth century pluralism that they utilize to reinterpret, reanimate, quote, remix, mash-up and morph a variety of genres, historical movements and traditions of mark-making.
NEW NEW YORK demonstrates a thirty-two thousand year-old medium’s participation in the urgent dialogue of survival in a world deluged with information and rapidly changing technologies.
For more information on the exhibit, visit the Department of Art and Art History website.