Washington Color in Chelsea

Fifty years ago, a handful of painters based in Washington, D.C., changed how we look at and think about painting. Taking advantage of the newly available acrylic paints at that time, they created geometric compositions, often applying the pigmented polymer directly into unprimed canvas. Their coolly measured work was light years away from abstract expressionist angst. In this exhibition at the Loretta Howard Gallery, we see one painting from each of eight artists.

Walking in from the elevator: Gene Davis, Untitled (P-108), 1961, magna on canvas

Looking to the right: Howard Mehring, Spring Is, 1963, acrylic on canvas

To the left of the entrance, roughly opposite the Gene Davis: Paul Reed, #2,  1963, acrylic on canvas
 Photo from the gallery website

Panorama of the large second gallery: Alma Thomas, Kenneth Noland, Sam Gilliam, Morris Louis
Click to enlarge

Detail of Sam Gilliam's Carrousel Change, 1970, acrylic on fabric
Gilliam liberated the canvas from its stretcher and frame. In doing so, he not only changed how we think about painting but opened the door for artists working in fiber 

Morris Louis, Gamma Alpha, 1960, acrylic on canvas

Alma Thomas, The Azaleas Sway with the Breeze, 1969, acrylic and graphite on canvas
With a recent solo at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, and prominent placement in the new Whitney, as well as the White House, Thomas's legacy is having some well-deserved and long overdue attention

Detail below

Turning left from Alma Thomas, we come to Thomas Downing, with a view into the first gallery and the painting by Howard Mehring

Thomas Downing: Untitled, 1965, acrylic on canvas

Washington Color Painting Reconsidered was curated by Helaine Posner, senior curator of contemporary art at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, and Sue Scott, an independent curator and writer. The gallery has not provided an end date for the exhibition, which suggests that it will have an open-ended run throughout the summer. Since most galleries have summer hours different from their schedule the rest of the year, it would be wise to confirm when it's open.

The exhibition catalog can be viewed online here.

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