Degrees of Abstraction

Exhibitions Crown Point Press

Degrees of Abstraction

Nov 2 — Jan 13, 2018

Check gallery website for hours and additional info

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Crown Point Press announces the group exhibition Degrees of Abstraction. It presents fifteen artists who explore the visual language of abstraction and features six new color etchings by New York artist Mary Heilmann.

“Looking at abstract art is like doing non-verbal philosophy, symbolic logic or non-number mathematics,” Heilmann has said. “It is like music, because it has a narrative without a story, without people: a drama without words.” The exhibition investigates threads that tie together a group of abstract artists. It connects now stalwarts such as Mary Heilmann and Pat Steir with a younger generation that includes Tomma Abts and John Zurier. On view November 2 to January 13, Degrees of Abstraction demonstrates the enduring vitality of non-representational art for over four decades. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, November 2, 5-8pm.

The exhibition selects from prints made by artists working in the Crown Point studio from 1981 to 2017. Heilmann’s third project at the press was in September 2017. Each artist uses his or her own abstract vocabulary to draw, paint, carve, or assemble art. London-based painter Tomma Abts, for example, is primarily concerned with precision, form, and illusion and has said she allows the image to develop from the process of creating itself. Al Held, who arrived in New York at the height of Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s, applied two-point perspective and geometry to his abstractions. New York-based Jacqueline Humphries subtly addresses cultural issues by incorporating grids of emojis in her work, simultaneously referring to 21st century language and art history’s ben-day dots.

Mary Heilmann, using a loose, active style and distinctive, bright colors, captures “the spirit of an age,” as art critic Iwona Blazwick has noted. Heilmann’s art is rooted in memory, and her titles at times allude to those origins. New Lineup, for example, suggests the rhythmic procession of waves breaking on the shore during time spent at the ocean.

San Francisco painter John Zurier, in a similar vein, creates a sense of lyricism and nostalgia in his work. His atmospheric, monochrome canvases often refer to his time spent in Iceland and sometimes to poetry in which he has found inspiration. Sculptor Leonardo Drew culls wood, metal, and other found objects into heavily textured, loosely gridded, and typically massive forms. The elements of each sculpture, he has said, come together to create musical tones. New York artist Pat Steir drips, pours, and flings paint from a high ladder onto her large canvases, abstracting waterfalls, constellations, and other elements of nature. The exhibition also presents prints by Anne Appleby, Richard Diebenkorn, Bertrand Lavier, Sol LeWitt, Alyson Shotz, Amy Sillman, Richard Tuttle, and Charline von Heyl.

Degrees of Abstraction is on display in the Crown Point Gallery at 20 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, November 2, 2017 – January 13, 2018. On November 2, neighborhood galleries Crown Point Press, Gagosian, and Berggruen are open concurrently for a reception from 5-8pm. Crown Point’s regular gallery hours are Monday 10-5 and Tuesday through Saturday 10-6.

Mary Heilmann. New Lineup — 2017