Pour, drip, splash, stain, spray, soak, splatter—these words are often used to describe abstract artists’ experimental application of paint. The creative process of many abstract painters is highly visible in their finished artworks. Vigorous brushstrokes, saturated canvases, and atmospheric surfaces all demonstrate the expansive use of the medium. For over 100 years, abstraction has reigned as a major expressive form in painting with continuously changing techniques and styles. Abstract paintings are frequently interpreted according to their visual components, but their socio-political contexts are also vital for understanding.
This exhibition features large-scale abstract paintings from the museum’s collection spanning the mid-1950s to the late 2000s by Gene Davis, Sam Francis, Sam Gilliam, Sheila Isham, Suzanne McClelland, Joan Mitchell, Larry Poons, and Hedda Sterne. While not unified through a particular artistic movement or chronology, each artwork demonstrates the vast potential of paint.