Frederick Hammersley was perhaps the most critically acclaimed of the first generation west coast hard-edge painters. Having been one of the four participants in the landmark Four Abstract Classicists exhibition in 1959, his place within the history of the art movement was firmly established. The show’s organizer, Jules Langsner coined the term “hard edge” in his essay for the catalogue: Continue reading Frederick Hammersley: West Coast Hard Edge Abstraction, Pt3
Composer Julia Wolfe’s Big Beautiful Dark and Scary was written in response to her experience witnessing the 9-11 tragedy, standing two blocks away from the Twin Towers as the planes hit them along with her two young children. The piece was written in 2002 for amplified sextet: clarinet, bass clarinet, percussion, piano, electric guitar, cello and double bass. Gargantuan slabs of tone clusters hover and fuss, then begin their brutal climb, ascending in pitch, intensity and volume. Continue reading Julia Wolfe :: Big Beautiful Dark and Scary
Chicago native Karl Benjamin found his way to California to go to college on the G.I.Bill after serving in the Navy during World War II. With no formal education in art, Benjamin who was an elementary teacher, began working with crayons in the course of developing art lessons for his students’ curriculum. He became enthralled with the way in which colors appeared to change when in juxtaposition with other colors and enrolled in classes at Claremont Graduate School, ultimately earning an M.A. degree in 1960 and developing a serious art practice as a painter who worked rigorously with color.
‘His principal started it all by asking him to add 47 minutes a week of art instruction to the curriculum.“I bought some crayons and paper,” he said. “And the kids drew trucks, trees, mountains. That was boring, so I said, No trucks, no trees. And they said, What should we do? I said the right thing, even though I didn’t have any background in art. I said, Be quiet and concentrate.” – Jori Finkel, Karl Benjamin’s Colorful Resurgence, New York Times, October 7, 2007 Continue reading Karl Benjamin: West Coast Hard Edge Abstraction, Pt2
West Coast (Los Angeles) painter Helen Lundeberg (1908-1999) turned to abstraction in the 1950’s after having spent the two previous decades working in social realist and post-surrealist styles of imagemaking. Her precise compositions with their restricted palettes hovered between abstraction and figuration, but always remained rooted in reality, referring to still lifes, landscapes, planetary forms and architecture.
“I was interested both in the pattern and the three-dimensional illusion created by these very flat geometric forms. At first I confined myself to angles and straight lines. Then I got a little tired of that and began getting some curves.” -Helen Lundeberg
Helen Lundeberg’s paintings have been exhibited widely in prominent museums, including the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art at Utah State University and the National Museum of American Art in Washington D.C. Her work was most recently included in the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950–1970, and in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art exhibition titled In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States.–wikipedia