Bringing together pioneering artists that broke new ground in the New York art scene and who redefined color and line in the twentieth century, Antoine Helwaser Gallery’s presentation at Art Miami 2017 deals with both abstract and figurative art. The Art Miami presentation emphasizes a distinct visual language based on expression and emotion, and approaches to form itself. From Yayoi Kusama’s infinite repetition of radiating brush-strokes to Sol Lewitt’s meandering lines, these artists lay stress on formal elements which gave meaning to their art.
On view is Adolph Gottlieb’s Asterisk on Brown (1967), comprised of abstract symbols arranged on the canvas. The work’s universalist and simple imagery exemplifies the artist’s focus on timeless, “truthful” art, aimed at reaching the viewer’s subconscious.
Markedly different from Gottlieb and the first-generation of Abstract Expressionist painters, Helen Frankenthaler’s Color Field painting underlines gestural brushstrokes and techniques, rather than mythic or symbolist tendencies. Aqueduct (1987) frames bold strokes of pink, black and green hues of oil paint against each other, characterizing Frankenthaler’s painterly technique.
The presentation will also delve into the work of later post-war New York artist, Alex Katz, highlighting his formal concerns of the human figure in his work Red Hat (Nicole) (2013). Alex Katz developed his highly stylized aesthetic in reaction to 1950s Abstract Expressionism, finding his own distinctive resolution between formalism and representation.
Two earlier works by Yayoi Kusama, Nets 45 (1998) and Oil No. 7 (1997), will also be on show. Part of the artist's Infinity Nets series, the intensity of the crescent-shaped impasto repeated all over the canvas evokes the compulsiveness of Kusama’s gestures, amplified by the use of wilful hues and dizzying repetitions.
Abstract, yet figurative, Jean Dubuffet’s Portrait d’Homme (1958) showcases Dubuffet’s spirit of originality. While this works points to Dubuffet’s large influence on New York’s avant-gardes, it also provides a closing point to the exhibition and acknowledges the reactionary nature of many of the modern art movements that arose in the post-war era.
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