Big Bang! Abstract Painting for the 21st Century

DeCordova Exhibits
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On View 2007
Exhibition Location: Linde Gallery

By the end of the last millennium, the art of abstract painting had been almost universally dismissed as irrelevant at best, and expired at worst. But now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, abstract painting is back with a bang – a Big Bang! This term, cosmologically speaking, refers to the moment approximately 13.7 billion years ago that our universe explosively emerged from an unimaginably hot and dense point. Used here metaphorically, Big Bang! describes the current aesthetic explosion in which a new generation of artists is reinvigorating abstraction with paintings formally and conceptually relevant to many of the great intellectual concerns of this new century.

DeCordova’s upcoming exhibition Big Bang! Abstract Painting for the 21st Century , heralds the revitalization of non-objective painting for a new century. This thematic group exhibition features works by artists whose imagery is informed by contemporary issues such as computer technology, cosmology, quantum physics, information theory, genetics, complexity theory, remote sensing, and other sets of current scientific visual languages. The paintings in Big Bang! surge with energy, explode with color, and immerse viewers in parallel universes of stunning visual experience and sheer imagination. And despite the insistent references to science and the digital world, each artwork is completely painted by hand, bringing together cutting-edge and age-old visual technologies.

Big Bang! brings together fifteen artists who reside in the Northeast (mostly New England ). They have created post-Postmodern paintings, visually complex and compelling, grounded in ideas that transcend art making and the art world to encompass everything: the universe, the mind, the sciences, the imagination, and the structures that connect them all. In Big Bang!, scale is unmoored. As the artists explore the very huge and the very tiny – often simultaneously – galactic and subatomic worlds oscillate. Paintings range widely in size, often within the oeuvre of a single artist. In this exhibition, seven-inch square paintings appear in proximity to canvases over ten feet wide. In other works, artists blast off from the painting itself to spread imagery across the surrounding walls, in installations that include painted three-dimensional objects.

The featured artists in Big Bang! are:

Peter Barrett
Thaddeus Beal
Steven Bogart
Sean Foley
Reese Inman
Clint Jukkala
Julie Miller
Meg Brown Payson
Jon Petro
Cristi Rinklin
Terry Rose
Sarah Slavick
Laurel Sparks
Barbara Takenaga
Sarah Walker

Big Bang! is organized by Curator Nick Capasso and Mary Levin and William Koch Curatorial Fellow Lisa Sutcliffe, and will be accompanied by a catalogue with an essay and full-color reproductions.