18 Wooster Street
SUBSTRACTION was an exhibition of abstract painting, curated by Nicola Vassell. This exhibition showed how today’s abstract painters were updating New York School abstraction with the energy of the streets and the jam-packed frequencies they dispensed. The title “substraction” was meant to invoke the reductive and sub, or “low,” influences these artists drew on: the tougher, darker, and dangerous. Think subway, subwoofers, and subprime.
Instead of an overly academic, esoteric approach to abstraction, these artists reinvigorated the more performative abstract tradition that came to them from Yves Klein or Jackson Pollock. They were heirs to the grittier abstraction of Lucio Fontana and Robert Rauschenberg, whose tire track drawings may have been direct inspiration for Aaron Young’s Burnouts. These artists were more inspired by Andy Warhol’s oxidation paintings than his Marilyn's, and more enthusiastic about the sculpture of John Chamberlain than that of David Smith.
Kristin Baker abstracted car crashes and explosive images from the history of painting using rough and ready industrial materials. Chaos and speed came together in her bright, plastic gestures made with squeegee or trowel, while her literal use of materials grounded her technique in the minimal tradition. Dan Colen contributed a new painting that resembled a massively beshitted object placed under a pigeon-infested highway overpass. This was abstraction literally inspired by the streets, where monuments and public sculpture were fair game to the art of the avian inhabitants of the city. Rosson Crow’s large, brassy, and badass paintings were inspired by the humming neon of dive bars and strip malls. The grimiest and tackiest corners of American life came together in her abstracted splattering of paint. Elizabeth Neel made rugged and violent abstract compositions that kept her work well in line with the toughest New York School men, while Sterling Ruby’s compositions found their inspiration in both gang graffiti and color field abstraction. Aaron Young used viperous and terrifying performance to generate his large abstract Burnout works, where motorcycle gangs burned through his layers of paint with screaming tires.
Using rough-and-tumble processes and unscripted sources of inspiration, these fresh, young abstract painters showed how they sullied the tradition of the New York School yet managed to keep its energy and ambition alive.
March 8 - 11, 2018
We will present a special solo project by the artist JR.
Image: JR, Migrants, Walking New York City, 2015
April - May 2018
18 Wooster Street
76 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
Monday – Friday
10 AM – 6 PM
Tuesday – Saturday
Noon – 6 PM
The gallery reopens with People in April 2018.
+1 (212) 343-7300
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