“Slip Zone” Highlights Global Connections in Postwar Abstraction – ARTnews.com

In the exhibition “Slip Zone: A New Look at Postwar Abstraction in the Americas and East Asia” on the Dallas Museum of Art, Jackson Pollock’s 1947 portray Cathedral hangs close to {a photograph} documenting Gutai artist Kazuo Shiraga portray together with his toes on the “2nd Gutai Art Exhibition” in Tokyo in October 1956. Standing shirtless together with his pants rolled up, he virtually appears to be dancing on the canvas underfoot, his kick-strokes animated by a way of bodily battle. Contrast this {photograph} with acquainted photographs by Hans Namuth displaying Pollock leaning above a paint-spattered canvas on his studio flooring. Despite Gutai work’ visible similarity and acknowledged homage to Pollock’s works, these images make clear some elementary variations within the artists’ approaches to course of and custom. Pollock crouches over the canvas, preserving its pictorial body, working across the portray greater than performing in it. Shiraga actually makes use of the floor of the portray itself as a website for uninhibited embodied motion, making Pollock seem painterly and restrained against this.

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Such gildings on long-held assumptions concerning the primacy and superiority of (white) American and European summary artwork inside international modernism are repeated all through “Slip Zone,” which assembles works not solely from Gutai but in addition from Mono-ha in Japan, Dansaekhwa in Korea, and Neoconcretism in Brazil. The artists behind these actions emerged from distinct cultural contexts whose traditions and issues suffused their work and, in flip, contributed to a global dialog concerning the untapped potentialities of fabric, type, and abstraction. Instead of presenting postwar modernism as a Euro-American export to different elements of the world, “Slip Zone” highlights the remarkably heterogeneous creative cross-pollination that occurred throughout this era, each globally and throughout racial divides inside the United States.

Works by canonical American artists reminiscent of Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, and Mark Rothko are certainly included in “Slip Zone,” however their presentation gives passing context greater than it enshrines their positions, successfully displaying how varied artists contributed to distinctly modernist visible kinds from vastly totally different reference factors and backgrounds. An uncharacteristically brilliant Rothko portray, for instance, accompanies a Frankenthaler work dominated by comparable vermilion hues, visually echoed on the gallery flooring in an early latex pour by Lynda Benglis titled Odalisque (Hey, Hey Frankenthaler), 1969. The psychedelic swirls of Benglis’s pour are themselves refracted close by in Gutai artist Shozo Shimamoto’s 1965 oil portray Untitled – Whirlpool, which suggests the affect of conventional Japanese paper marbling strategies reminiscent of suminagashi in its amoeba-like rings of overlapping coloration.

"Slip Zone" Highlights Global Connections in

Jack Whitten: Slip Zone, 1971, acrylic on canvas, 39 inches sq..
©Jack Whitten Estate/Courtesy Hauser & Wirth

Arrayed with daubed traces of blue pigment rhythmically fading like a stamp dropping ink, Korean artist Lee Ufan’s 1978 portray From Point combines repetitious Minimalist strategies with conventional Japanese supplies reminiscent of nikawa, an animal-skin glue utilized in silk portray. Ufan’s prioritizing of elementary materials properties as a lot as Western notions of creative expression is extra dramatically demonstrated in his sculpture Relatum (1968/1969/2011), through which the artist dropped a stone on a plate of glass and left it for show on the damaged floor, charged with a frisson of violence amid stillness. Such philosophical explorations of physicality and process-based makes an attempt at “not making” had been a trademark of Mono-ha (or “School of Things”), a motion led by Ufan and Japanese artist Nobuo Sekine.

As a part of its formidable reevaluation of histories of modernism marred by imposed hierarchies and segregation, “Slip Zone” additionally highlights the under-acknowledged contributions of Black American artists working inside varied types of postwar abstraction, together with Color Field portray and Minimalism. The exhibition takes its title from a 1971 portray by Jack Whitten with a striated, textured floor that the artist created utilizing implements reminiscent of combs and rakes. Suspended on the tallest wall within the exhibition’s central gallery, Leaf (1970)—one in all Sam Gilliam’s signature unstretched canvases—majestically expands its painted folds, lending the area a reverent, chapel-like high quality. Elsewhere, the triumphant, large-scale work Marcia H Travels by Frank Bowling and Intarsia by Ed Clark (each 1970) face one another throughout a gallery, every emitting its personal distinctive, delicate aura via bleeding layers of coloration—Bowling’s comfortable and veil-like, Clark’s hard-lined and horizontal. Between them, the alluring solid polyester sculpture Untitled (Parabolic Lens), 1978, by California Light and Space artist Fred Eversley, serves as an brisk prism, alive with comfortable blue luminosity.

Few artists exemplify the actually intercultural legacy of postwar abstraction in addition to Senga Nengudi, who spent a 12 months learning Gutai at Waseda University in Tokyo earlier than returning to the United States to take part within the Black avant-garde actions of the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies. Using vinyl luggage of vividly coloured water to discover weight and fluid movement, Nengudi’s early work Water Composition I (1969–70/2019) reveals the direct affect of Gutai artist Sadamasa Motonaga’s 1956 set up Work (Water), through which vinyl sheets stuffed with dyed water had been suspended between timber. Nengudi’s building additionally anticipates the formal issues of her later, best-known works within the “R.S.V.P.” collection (1975–77), involving pantyhose tied collectively, pinned to partitions, and weighted with sand. By drawing compelling and exact connections reminiscent of these, “Slip Zone” insists on a revised historical past of abstraction that acknowledges and celebrates the dynamic, multidirectional cultural exchanges to which these artworks attest.

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