Geometry: Old School, New School

A view into Ameringer McEnery Yohe Gallery with its solo exhibition by Frederick Hammersley:
Costume Change, 1981, oil on linen, 40 x 40 inches

Am I late with this report? Yes, I am. I’ve been late with just about everything since mid-September when my back pain hit. I know I’ve been like Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon, ranting on the sidewalk, with just a slight change in the script: “Sciatica! Sciatica!"

I am feeling much better, however, so I'm trying to catch up. In this post I bring you two exhibitions which, while over—both ran September 8 through October 8—merit a look back.

Frederick Hammersley at Ameringer McEnery Yohe
Hammersley (1919-2009) is old school. The paintings in this exhibition are classic hard-edge abstractions, mostly square, mostly from the 70s, with a strong sense of positive/negative space. In the back room they were accompanied by a group of very small canvases of organic forms, the fluid yin to the front gallery's geometric yang—hence the exhibition’s title, Organic and Geometric. But it’s the hard-edge works that do it for me: cerebral and refined, coolly stated as befits a Southern California practioner of geometric abstraction.

Installation view of the front gallery
Above, from left: Savoir Pair, oil on linen. 49 x 49 inches; Landlord, oil on linen, 45 x 45 inches; and Costume Change

Swinging around to the right wall: Altered Ego, 1971, oil on linen, 44 x 44 inches; Adam and Eve, oil on linen on masonite, 44 x 44 inches

With a closer view, below, of the two paintings

Back gallery with geometric and organic in relation to each other. A strong sense of positive/negative space unites both avenues of expression

Below: Self Starter, oil on linen, 7 x 9 1/8 inches
Image from the Ameringer McEnery Yohe website

 In Two the Fray, oil on linen, 45 x 45 inches

Ann Pibal at Meulensteen
In the new school category is the work of Ann Pibal, a contemporary painter whose geometry and palette are quirky, sharp and elegant. The paintings in this show, DRMN', are architectural—builderly, if I might describe them that way—with a strong sense of color and composition. They’re mostly small works with a surprising sense of dimensional space. You're up against the image, with its flat color and oddly directional elements, and then, boom, you find you've fallen in.

RTOF, 2011, acrylic on aluminum, 17.75 x 12.75 inches
Image from the Meulensteen Gallery website

Installation views:  from front, above, and back of gallery
I like the modest scale of Pibal's work and the slight changes in size and proportion

APCN, 2011, acrylic on aluminum, 18.75 x12.75 inches

HNGRS, 2011, acrylic on aluminum, 13 x 18 inches


Eva said...

What a great report. I love all of the work. Thanks Joanne!

Stephanie Clayton said...

Pibal's small scale paintings are quietly powerful.
I like the use of geometric and organic structures, so I find this exhibit especially appealing.

Paul Behnke said...

Hate that I missed this show! Thanks for posting...