The 55th The World of Geometric Abstraction: 23rd Exhibition of Prints from the Tyler Graphics Archive Collection
September 17, 2011 - December 25, 2011
Early in the 20th century artists including Holland's Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) and Russia's Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935) began painting abstract works constructed from simple geometric figures such as squares and circles. After World War II this line of painting was carried on in such movements as Hard-edge Painting and Minimal Art, and subsequently it has come to occupy an important place within the realm of contemporary painting. Geometric abstraction, the result of reducing a canvas's constituent elements to their smallest units in a quest to achieve a painting that transcends being a mere reproduction of real objects and stands as an autonomous entity unto itself, is occasionally referred to as "cool abstraction" because of its perceived intellectual and inhibitive attributes.
In the late 1950s, in tandem with the rise in popularity of the print genre, many American artists began actively engaging in print production, and among them were artists who created works incorporating geometric abstraction. They were inspired to do so owing to the relative ease that a mechanical, industrial production process using plates, rather than drawing directly by hand, afforded them in their quest to achieve sharp and precise forms and uniform color fields. As print technology itself proceeded to undergo continual advances, this added further to an environment conducive to the creation of masterful print works that have found a permanent niche within contemporary art history.
This exhibition will feature prints from CCGA's Tyler Graphics Archive Collection by leading exponents of geometric abstraction, including Josef Albers and Ellsworth Kelly. The works shown, each meticulously printed, cogently convey the sense of hardness and reticence characteristic of this art form; but at the same time, they also eloquently demonstrate the abundant and widely varied expressions achievable through differences in color, ink texture and printing technique. We hope the exhibition will provide visitors an opportunity to appreciate the fascinating appeal arising from the convergence of geometric abstraction and contemporary prints.