34. “Painting Abstraction: new elements in abstract painting” by Bob Nickas.

At 12:45pm today in the Centrum Studio, OCAC’s very own drawing/painting, general studies and foundations faculty member, Michelle Ross will be giving a presentation as part of the College’s Monday talks series.

She is well known for her contemporary abstract paintings, which “[traverse] the history of abstraction, design, decoration and the love of language” (here). Her work has been likened to Mondrian, Hans Hoffman, Giorgio Morandi, Agnes Martin, Mary Heilman, and Robert Mangold. Ryan Pierce has stated that “Ross’ paintings are firmly grounded in the tropes and traditions of modernism,” they are “refreshingly free of the gimmicks that crowd a lot of abstraction these days,” and they “link the classical and the modern with grace and reverence, leaving plenty of open space for whatever happens next” (from a 2007 review on PORT).

More images of her recent work can be seen on the Elizabeth Leach Gallery website. If you’re in the area, Don’t miss her talk!

For this week’s library pick, we have selected a title that showcases many of Michelle Ross’ contemporaries and other artists pushing the limits of abstract painting. The book is Painting Abstraction: new elements in abstract painting by Bob Nickas.

After a prefatory essay on the “persistence of abstraction,” the book is broken up into six parts: “hybrid pictures,” “Rhythm and Opticality,” “Color and Structure,” “Found/Eccentric Abstraction,” “Form, Space, and Scale,” and “the Act of Painting.” About a dozen or more artists have been selected for each section and a short text describes how each particularly addresses some issue related to that section’s theme.

For example, Nickas asks “Is the hand of an artist more visible to us when drawing and line are central to her paintings?” (139). He then demonstrates how this question can be answered in the “affirmative” by a close investigation on the work of Allison Miller. Several large, full-color reproductions of her work follow in order to illustrate his point.

Painting Abstraction is an authoritative compilation that addresses the key issues in the field of abstract painting from the last five years and profiles 80 different contemporary abstract artists including Mark Grotjahn and Amy Sillman. Bob Nickas work is an excellent balance of research, critical analysis, and, what all great art books so often have: art, art, and more art.

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4 thoughts on “34. “Painting Abstraction: new elements in abstract painting” by Bob Nickas.

  1. I am grateful for the introduction to the book, and the images, and sorry to pick you up on a minor point: you write “what all great art books so often have: art, art, and more art.” It is one or the other. Either all of them do, or they often do. It cannot be both.

  2. Pingback: Clean wintery abstracts | Delight-Filled Leaves Art Studio

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