Exposition Art Blog: March 2018

Paul-Émile Borduas

Paul-Émile Borduas (November 1, 1905 – February 22, 1960) was a Québec painter known for his abstract paintings. He was the leader of the avant-garde Automatiste movement and the chief author of the Refus Global manifesto of 1948. Borduas had a profound impact on the development of the arts and of thought, both in the province of Quebec and in Canada.Borduas was born on November the first, 1905, in Saint-Hilaire, Quebec (a small village 50 kilometers from Montréal). He was the fourth child of Magloire Borduas and Éva Perrault. As a child he engaged in bricolage - his first known artistic activity. He received five years of formal elementary school education, (which ended at the age of twelve) and some private lessons from a village resident. Fortuitously, Borduas met Ozias Leduc in the winter of 1921-1922, and Leduc agreed to take the young artist under his wing. At the age of sixteen he became an apprentice to Ozias Leduc, who was a church painter and decorator. Leduc provided Borduas with a basic artistic training, teaching him how to restore and decorate churches. Leduc arranged for Borduas' instruction at the École Technique, in 1919, in Sherbrooke, Québec. In 1923, assisted by a scholarship Leduc had secured for him, he enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, continuing to work for Leduc at the same time. He received prizes for his paintings at both of these institutions. Despite discord between Borduas and the school administration, he continued his studies at Leduc's urgings

 Borduas wrote Refus Global (or "Total Refusal", anglicized) in late 1947- early 1948. It was disseminated in a folder that contained other Automatists' writings. This piece was originally intended to accompany an Automatist showing, however it was actually distributed alone. "Global Refusal" served as an important manifesto that advocated the separation of church and state in Quebec, especially for the arts. In it Borduas "denounces the forces of oppression that had made of Quebec a suffocating environment. hostile to both individual and collective creativity".
    We foresee a future in which man is freed from useless chains, to realize a plenitude of individual gifts, in necessary unpredictability, spontaneity and resplendent anarchy. Until then, without surrender or rest, in community of feeling with those who thirst for better life, without fear of set-backs, in encouragement or persecution, we shall pursue in joy our overwhelming need for liberation.
Four hundred copies of the manifesto went on sale August 9, 1948. Borduas was dismissed from l'École du Meuble on September 2 as a direct result of his involvement in this social critique. Even those who had tired of the repressive Duplessis régime, and advocated great social changes in Québec, were reluctant to back Borduas' thorough condemnation of the Catholic Church—such a central influ nce on the French Canadian populace.

 Borduas was ostracized, he was unable to attain employment and this was necessarily problematic as he was a father. He decided to take matters into his own hands. Borduas produced another piece in his defence, «Projections Libérantes» («Liberating Projections»), which he completed in February 1949.[7] Unfortunately, this more moderate composition, which clearly communicated Borduas' intentions in releasing «Refus Global», was not enthusiastically received by the public or the presses. However, despite early denouncements, the manifesto marked the beginning of profound social change in Quebec and signaled the dawn of the Quiet Revolution.In 1953 Borduas moved to New York, where he saw the works of Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline and Mark Rothko and began to use the palette knife to apply his paint. In 1955 he moved back to Paris where he died of a heart attack in 1960.
In 1954, works by Borduas, along with those of B. C. Binning and Jean-Paul Riopelle represented Canada at the Venice Biennale. In 1955 he represented Canada at the 3rd Bienal de São Paulo. In 1960 the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam gave him the posthumous exhibition, «Borduas 1905–1960» . In 1988 the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts gave him an enormous retrospective exhibition curated by François-Marc Gagnon.In May 2012 his painting Froissement Multicolore sold for $663,750 at auction, surpassing the artist's previous auction price record by $150,000.Wikipedia

William Scharf

William Scharf (February 22, 1927 – January 15, 2018 [1], born Media, PA) was an American artist from New York City, he taught at The Art Students League of New York. Painting with acrylics, he was a member of the New York School movement.
He apprenticed with Mark Rothko and was influenced by his color field paintings. The surrealist painter Arshile Gorky and the Abstract expressionism style found in 1950s New York City also influenced Scharf. His exhibits include San Francisco Art Institute (1969), the Pepperdine University's Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art (2001),and Richard York Gallery in New York City (2004).Scharf's work has been exhibited in a number of galleries, including the Anita Shapolsky Gallery, Meredith Ward Fine Art, and Hollis Taggart Galleries in New York City.


Nassos Daphnis - Geometric abstraction

Nassos Daphnis (born July 23, 1914, Krokeai, Greece – d. November 23, 2010, Provincetown, Massachusetts, U.S.) was a Greek-born American abstract painter, sculptor and tree peony breeder.Daphnis served in the United States Army from 1942 to 1945. During his service he was asked to put his skills as a painter to use and created camouflage for use on enormous military relief maps. It is speculated by some art critics that it was while painting camouflage that Daphnis developed the signature flatness later recognizable in his abstract geometric paintings.
In the 1950s, Daphnis traveled back to Greece with the assistance of the G.I. Bill. While there he began to see the stark, clear light change his perception of the buildings and forms around him. Structures were simplified and became geometric planes of pure color. Following this trop, Daphnis developed his color-plane theory and focused on geometric abstraction with a restricted color palette of only black, white and primary colors. This became his signature style and these works are often characterized as being painted in the Hard-edge style of geometric abstraction. His style is frequently compared with Piet Mondrian; however, Daphnis saw Mondrian's approach as a jumping off point. Daphnis was also described as an abstract imagist, a term which arose from a 1961 exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, called American Abstract Expressionists and Imagists, in which he participated.In the late 1980s, Daphnis' style evolved again as he began to integrate new forms of computer technology into his practice. Expanding on his color palette, he also incorporated a few additional colors. Daphnis' employment of computer-generated graphics and use of the Atari ST to develop his radical digital landscapes can best be understood as a proto New Media attitude.Wikipedia

Mark Tobey - Abstract Expressionism

Mark George Tobey (December 11, 1890 – April 24, 1976) was an American painter. His densely structured compositions, inspired by Asian calligraphy, resemble Abstract expressionism, although the motives for his compositions differ philosophically from most Abstract Expressionist painters. His work was widely recognized throughout the United States and Europe. Along with Guy Anderson, Kenneth Callahan, Morris Graves, and William Cumming, Tobey was a founder of the Northwest School. Senior in age and experience, he had a strong influence on the others; friend and mentor, Tobey shared their interest in philosophy and Eastern religions. Similar to others of the Northwest School, Tobey was mostly self-taught after early studies at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1921, Tobey founded the art department at The Cornish School in Seattle, Washington.Tobey was an incessant traveler, visiting Mexico, Europe, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, China and Japan. After converting to the Bahá'í Faith, it became an important part of his life. Whether Tobey's all-over paintings, marked by oriental brushwork and calligraphic strokes, were an influencer on Jackson Pollock's drip paintings has been left unanswered. Born in Centerville, Wisconsin, Tobey lived in the Seattle, Washington area for most of his life before moving to Basel, Switzerland in the early 1960s with his companion, Pehr Hallsten; Tobey died there in 1976...Tobey is most notable for his creation of so-called "white writing" - an overlay of white or light-colored calligraphic symbols on an abstract field which is often itself composed of thousands of small and interwoven brush strokes. This method, in turn, gave rise to the type of "all-over" painting style made most famous by Jackson Pollock, another American painter to whom Tobey is often compared.Tobey’s work is also defined as creating a vibratory space with the multiple degrees of mobility obtained by the Brownian movement of a light brush on a bottom with the dense tonalities. The series of “Broadway” realized at that time has a historical value of reference today. It precedes a new dimension of the pictorial vision, that of contemplation in the action. His work is inspired by a personal belief system that suggests Oriental influences and reference to Tobey's involvement in the Bahá'í Faith. Four of Tobey's signed lithographs hang in the reception hall in the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing institution of the Bahá'í Faith.Wikipedia

Harold Eugene Edgerton

"Edward Steichen (American, 1879–1973), photographer and former director of the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, described the work of Harold Edgerton (American, 1903–1990) as significant not only for creating a new scientific perspective, but also because it established a new photographic genre. An electrical engineer, prolific inventor, and Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Edgerton used photography to extend the capabilities of the human eye to microsecond vision, revealing aspects of reality never before seen or even imagined. His impact on photographic technology and influence on photographers can still be seen in the contemporary sphere of photography.In 1931, as a graduate student at MIT, Edgerton combined the camera with the stroboscope, a device invented in 1831 for studying objects in motion. Edgerton’s device, which formed the basis for the development of the modern electric flash, emitted a series of high-speed bursts of light from electrically controlled neon tubes that could record on film a series of stopped-action sequential images.

  These extremely short flashes of light overcame the mechanical restrictions of the camera shutter, illuminating events or portions of events as brief as one three-millionth of a second in duration. This invention, states Edgerton, allowed “time itself to be chopped up into small bits and frozen so that it suits our needs and wished.”“Don’t make me out to be an artist,” stated Edgerton. “I am an engineer. I am after the facts. Only the facts.”2 It is the startling beauty of these facts discovered by Edgerton that astonishes us. Using his improved stroboscope, he could photograph motion as a single image, or in multiples of up to 600 per second. Linked to a motion picture camera, this device would produce greatly improved slow motion film footage.
The images Edgerton created celebrate the union of art and science: the crown of droplets created by a splash of milk, the perfect geometric patterns formed by a somersaulting diver before he slices into the water, a speeding bullet frozen in space as it explodes through an apple, and a football caving in from the impact of an athlete’s foot. These images all reveal the harmony and logic of natural laws, the invisible symmetry of everyday phenomena."(news.artnet.com)