Stories without Words: Geometric Abstraction
Bridgeport Art Center Gallery
January 15 – February 19
Stories Without Words presents a review of contemporary geometric abstraction with an in-depth look at paintings and sculptures by five artists: Jens Brasch, Walter Fydryck, Michael Grucza, Steven Lockwood, and Victor Nelson.
The word abstraction itself refers to the practice of removing something from the work of art – usually representational imagery or narrative content. It has been said that geometric abstraction is to abstraction as veganism is to vegetarianism. Geometric abstraction removes even the trace of the artist’s hand, by eliminating expressive gestures that could imply a story outside of the work of art. Yet all the artists in this show create works that refer to narratives of some kind.
Jens Brasch reverses the accustomed movement from subject to symbol by enlarging and enlivening graphic language to make paintings and three-dimensional objects inspired by graphs.
Walter Fydryck expands the usually neutral painting ground, the canvas, by using it as a basic geometric element of composition. He juxtaposes numerous small canvases spatially to create a new multiple work, on which painted forms relate to one another and form larger shapes by “jumping across” spatial divides between them.
Michael Grucza plays with complex spatial relationships, sometimes constructing screens comprised of holes punched into metal sheets. These screens describe interior spaces in which are found additional geometric structures and shapes. The viewer is given changing visual patterns depending on one’s position with respect to the work.
Steven Lockwood’s work is inspired by our built environment – architecture and roads and the forms and materials of construction. He explores the nature of materials such as metal and cement in elegant geometric compositions that allude to the patterns of the city. The wall pieces create shadows that are an integral part of the work.
Victor Nelson’s works express the metaphorical potential of the basic geometric shapes of his sculptures. Through simplification of form, he abstracts to the underlying basic subject, as when a wave shape expresses the movement of air and gravity on water.
This exhibition of abstract works demonstrates that the notion of abstraction remains a vital part of contemporary art, one which continues to be explored and developed despite the fact that the Western art tradition of abstraction is generally considered to have begun over 100 years ago with work by Kandinsky and others. In many non-Western cultures abstract traditions have an even longer history and are considered the norm, rather than part of an avant-garde movement that arose in opposition to representational traditions based on Classic art and art of the Renaissance.
– Lelde Kalmite, Curator