New York–Centric Curated by James Little: Gallery of the American Fine Arts Society | Student Arts League, NYC
I organized this exhibition with the following requirements in mind: the work should be abstract, produced in or around New York during the latter half of the 20th or beginning of the 21st century, and it must be painting. My decision was to bring together exemplary work and ideas that addressed issues in contemporary American abstract painting. I sought out work that I felt had a conceptual and radical emphasis on the paint and its properties, that investigated and experimented with color and, to some extent, color theory and design, and expressionism. I considered a variety of artists and sensibilities. The common threads are the dialogues the artists have with the medium and the relationships they have developed within their work and to the art of the past. Among the artists, some are well-known. Others are underknown, and unknown. The most noticeable, discernable, and outstanding features of this exhibition are clarity, quality and deftness of hand. Fundamentally, this exhibition harks back to why artists choose paint as a medium, what they do with it, and how it remains relevant. This, at a time when contemporary art trends address critical issues of the day—politics, gender identity, race, social inequality, war and terrorism and the environment. Abstract painting doesn’t appear to have a voice in the conversation. But nothing could be further from the truth. Throughout history, painting, in its ongoing transformation, has served humanity and provided for its mental, social and spiritual health. In doing so, painting has helped shape opinions and attitudes, and societal norms, and it continues to do so today. The artists in this exhibition represent that tradition through abstraction. I curated this exhibition because I felt an urgency for renewed focus and attention to abstract painting and to the contributions that these artists, in particular, have made and continue to offer to the art historical cannon. At this time in our culture, I organized this show because it needed to be done.
— James Little