Al Loving USA, 1935-2005


"Abstraction is the most direct route to the intellect. In other words when you look at my work, there’s nothing else there than what you see. There’s no hidden messages. It’s about color. It’s about material. As a human being, politically that should be in there too."

—Al Loving

Al Loving was an American abstract painter and sculptor. He is considered to have been part of the Abstract Expressionist tradition. Like artists such as Sam Gilliam, Loving experimented with other ways of working with paint and supports, besides marking a flat canvas. He developed a unique method of creating mixed-media collages, using fabric and paint to construct abstract, gestural, sculptural compositions that expressed color and emotion. His methods ranged from painting fabric to dying it, and using a range of mediums, from paint and canvas to everyday materials, like corrugated paper and cardboard.


In 1991, Loving embarked on his Memories of Midtown and Last Memories of Midtown series, two examples of which are in the permanent collection of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Made from materials such as 300 lb rag paper, cardboard, and acrylic paint, and sometimes mounted on Plexiglass or cardboard, the works in this series bridge the worlds of high and low art, evoking the energy, color, and form of life in New York City. Memories of Midtown is an ideal example of the enthusiasm Loving infused into his practice, bringing color and form together in an explosive expression of spirit. Other works from this time period, such as Loving's Wythe Street series and Mercer Street series, also make reference to locations around New York of personal importance to Loving.


New York was an important place for Loving. He lived in New York from 1968 until his death in 2005. Remarkably, at age 33, Loving was given his first show at the Whitney, just one year after moving to the city.