Xstraction is a ‘show looking at new approaches in abstract painting’ at The Hole, New York City until the 20th of June. The artists are mainly young and mainly resident in NYC. To save time you may have spent googling, I’ve included some links to their work: Adam Henry, Andrew Sutherland, Angel Otero, Ara Peterson, Ayan Farah, Chris Johanson, Cory Arcangel, Davina Semo, Dianna Molzan, Ethan Cook, Evan Gruzis, Gerhard Richter, Greg Bogin, James Krone, Kadar Brock, Karl Klingbiel, Landon Metz, Mark Flood, McArthur Binion, Oscar Murillo, Peter Demos, Peter Sutherland, Sam Moyer, Sarah Braman, Sayre Gomez, Stefan Bondell, Thomas Øvilsen, Timothy Bergstrom, Travess Smalley, Trudy Benson, Wade Guyton, Wendy White, Wil Murray, Wyatt Kahn, Xylor Jane. I’ve quoted most of the (slightly odd) press-release below.
“One of the commonalities of the works in this exhibition is a textile-based and “craftstraction” approach haha just kidding; I promise no more neologism. This kind of shredded, woven, ragged, wrinkled and dyed abstraction includes artists like Landon Metz or Sam Moyer (who use dyes and bleach respectively) or Dianna Molzan or Ethan Cook who weave, sew and stitch their canvasses. Ayan Farah uses silks or unusual linens and the exposure to the elements to create her “forensic” abstract works that show light and soil and heat, or even volcanic activity, as registered on her fabrics. Even Mark Flood whose main oeuvre may be said to be intensely punk and political contributes a work from his elegant “lace paintings” that somehow convey in paint torn skeins of lace or burlap around a black void.”
“A new and timely update to the tradition of abstract painting involves the use of digital tools or digital aesthetics in the works, beginning perhaps with the computer chipped and networked paintings of Peter Halley (whose style developed in the 80s when home computers were barely emerging) that serves as an influence for young artists like Travess Smalley or Wendy White, as well as a pioneer of digital printing techniques like Wade Guyton or vanguard digital artist Cory Arcangel. Adam Henry, for example, paints like a CMYK printer, squirting out bits of additive color that mix into a final color, while Trudy Benson paints with lines and textures that come out of the language of Photoshop tools. Greg Bogin, Sayre Gomez, Stefan Bondell, Peter Demos, Wil Murray, Evan Gruzis, even Xylor Jane’s hand made number systems: these pixelated, airbrushed, gradient-ed, or Photoshopped works show the ways that computers can both be a tool and a subject for abstract explorations.”
“Another strain of abstract thinking comes from a tradition exemplified in the influential career of Rudolf Stingel, whose literalness in approach to materials and phenomenology introduced the interest in young artists for trodden-upon, dirtied, worn out or even “entropic” abstraction. The works may be accidental, disposable, destroyed. These pieces come out of life: they are what they are, but then magically, and irresistibly can’t help but also be something intangibly poetic. Andrew Sutherland composes his acrylic paintings within a large folded trash bag; Angel Otero bunches up paint soaked canvas around the armature to resemble a ruched and rumbled sack of a painting. The work of Sarah Braman, Oscar Murillo, James Krone, Kadar Brock and Thomas Øvlisen perhaps fit in best here as well, where materials take on a tendency that seems almost an inertia in the aesthetic realm. “Relational Abstraction” would be a word I would be sorely tempted to make up here. Or even “Distraction” hahaha sorry.”
“In a more general way material-driven and un-painterly abstraction is an overlapping theme, where the artist’s hand is not only invisible but out of the question. These artists have found ways to make wall works that refer to the tradition of abstract painting while never involving paint or fabric or brushes. Davina Semo presents a painting made from only industrial orange chains, Tim Bergstrom works with glue and wire, Peter Sutherland with sand, McArthur Binion with wax and crayon, Ara Peterson with laser-cut wood slats, etc. These artists may do amazing things that transform these untraditional materials into something rich and strange, but always do so within the confines and logic of the materials chosen. Richter’s squeegee, Anoka Faruqee’s handmade rakebrushes or Karl Klingbiel’s weird woodblocks fit into a branch of this un-traditional painting which involves an innovation in the tools of the painter.”