Its time to draw the line on your preconceptions about abstract art. Drawn/Taped/Burned: Abstraction on Paper, the newest exhibition at the Katonah Museum of Art
, features modern and contemporary works on paper from the Kramarsky Collection. On view from January 23 through May 1, 2011, Drawn/Taped/Burned showcases artists ingenuity in using unconventional materials and inventive drawing techniques to create their geometric and process-driven abstractions.
For nearly five decades, Sally and Wynn Kramarsky have amassed over 3,000 original works on paper with a primary focus on Modern, Minimalist, Conceptual, and Process Art dating from the 1950s to the present. Moving away from representation and narrative themes, the work on exhibit demonstrates art in its purest physical form: line, color, shape, texture, and composition. Drawn/Taped/Burned celebrates the beauty of a fluid line, the energy of scrawling shapes, and the mood expressed by a single band of color. As the title suggests, the artists in the exhibition employ many objects in the service of mark-makingnot just the traditional pen or pencil, but also ash, wax, string, smoke, tape, tea, and tar. Works on view range from an intimate, five-inch drawing by Jay Kelly to the larger-than-life work of Jill OBryan.
KMA Executive Director Neil Watson states, This remarkable exhibition is drawn from a stunningly deep collection. The Museum and our public are very fortunate to have this rare opportunity to experience a broad range of drawing approaches to abstraction by world-class artists.
Works in the collection reflect the relationship between artists and their mediums. In discussing how he has amassed his collection Mr. Kramarsky explains, I really start out by looking at something and saying, How is it made? Not, Why is it made? Thats not nearly as interesting to me. In the initial moment, how was this made? What happened? What happened when the artist put the pencil or pen or brush to paper? And because it is almost impossible, when you work on paper, to correct it, that initial moment is crucial. That interests me: that somebody has the courage and the idea to make that original mark.
Drawn/Taped/Burned is organized by Ellen Keiter, the Museums Curator of Contemporary Art. Ms. Keiter has brought together 74 original works on paper by 66 artists who explore geometry, process, text, and unorthodox materials. The exhibition features some of the biggest names in the art world, as well as the newest generation of contemporary artists. Artists include Carl Andre, John Cage, Mark di Suvero, Eva Hesse, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Ellsworth Kelly, Sol LeWitt, Robert Ryman, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Joel Shapiro, Ursula von Rydingsvard, and Christopher Wilmarth.
Viewers must trust their own instincts and imaginations rather than rely on the artist for meaning, Keiter says of the exhibition. Given time, this act of looking can be quite liberating, even enthralling. Too often abstraction is easily dismissed; it is the patient viewer, however, who reaps the greatest rewards of close observation.