Four years ago White Columns director Matthew Higgs's proposal for the 6th Berlin Biennale considered the relationship between non-representational art and everyday life, but his submission was rejected in favor of Kathrin Rhomberg's "what is waiting out there." Higgs has finally dusted off the original proposal and used it as the basis for "Everyday Abstract--Abstract Everyday" an eclectic and amusing exhibition at James Cohen Gallery through July 27. Higgs writes in his statement that
This exhibition seeks to develop these earlier ideas around what I termed “vernacular” or “everyday” abstraction: that is artistic practices that actively privilege and operate in the grey area between an essentially non-representational image/object and the use of quotidian materials and processes.Higgs has selected a wide range of engaging work, but the concept for the show is so obvious, it saps the best work of the strange, leaving primarily the familiar.
Collectively the works in "Everyday Abstract – Abstract Everyday" seem most interested in the point at which the self-contained rationality of earlier modernist abstraction is ruptured. This sense of “rupture” – both physically and psychologically - is perhaps the prevailing aesthetic attitude that unites the otherwise highly idiosyncratic artists – and art works – brought together in "Everyday Abstract – Abstract Everyday." In the work of all these artists traces of our material culture are transformed, or perhaps more accurately, re-purposed into something that is simultaneously familiar and strange.
Josh Smith paints better than he thinks
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