HOUSTON ARTISTS: Gestural and Geometric Abstraction
January 26 – July 8, 2018
Two principal aspects of modern and contemporary abstract painting and sculpture are the spontaneous application of material in gestural painting, and the evenly applied, hard-edged forms that define the patterns and shapes in geometric art. We tend to think of these two principals as completely separate forms of art making that have little to do with one another. We also assume that abstract art is restricted to the formal issues of colors and shapes that have little or nothing to do with other aspects of nature and human life. The case for the critical justification of abstract art in western culture was accepted early in the 20th Century; in Houston, Texas, it has been a source of serious practice since the decade following World War 2.
The nine artists included in the exhibition Houston Artists: Gestural and Geometric Abstraction have been committed to abstract painting and sculpture for many decades.
The painters and sculptors in this exhibition are all consummate craftsmen. Their innovative approach to materials is combined with their mastery of color and form and the humanistic subjects that their art implies. From Virgil Grotfeldt’s rendering of organic matter or Michael Kennaugh’s implied geological movement of color and form to Ibsen Espada’s jazz infused mixed media works, gestural abstraction has been given a new presence. The mixture of gesture and geometric forms prominently inhabits the art of Arthur Turner, Pat Colville, Susan Plum, and Arielle Masson. There exists an acute spiritual quality to their art as well. In the case of HJ Bott and Steve Murphy, a sophisticated geometry challenges concepts of perspective. The abstract art by these nine artists is not simply defined by the artists’ residence in Houston, it broadens the scope of gestural and geometric abstraction universally.
For this exhibition, Mobile Museum of Art collaborated with Houston Baptist University Art Gallery in Houston, Texas, to create an “exchange” program of contemporary art exhibitions featuring the work of artists from their respective states, presented concurrently at each venue. For more information on the exchange program, click here.