Exhibit Explores Contemporary Abstract Art

By Scott Craig   |   July 29, 2021
Connie Connally’s “Maroon Garden”

The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art invites visitors to explore the diverse expressions and meanings of abstract art through the exhibition, “Towards a 21st Century Abstraction,” on display through August 14. Artists and visitors are welcome Monday through Friday between 10 am to 4 pm. Before coming to campus, guests must fill out a health questionnaire found at west

The show inspires viewers to consider the future of abstract art and ask questions such as: Is abstraction dead? Is it die-able? Does abstract art need to be defended at this point, or simply re-averred? And in either case, by whom?

“Abstraction is likely the most challenging and often difficult style of art for museum visitors to understand,” says Judy Larson, R. Anthony Askew professor of art history and museum director. “The eight artists in this exhibition range from creators of geometric abstraction to makers of compositions that incorporate signs and symbols; some work with collage while others work in a painterly drawing style.” 

Curated by art historian and cultural critic Peter Frank, the exhibition features painters from around the country who are pushing abstract art into new territories: David Bailin, Connie Connally, Brad Ellis, Jeri Ledbetter, Katherine Chang Liu, Sammy Peters, Doug Trump, and Wosene Worke Kosrof.

Connally is from Santa Barbara, and Chang Liu lives and works in Westlake Village. “These two artists from our region of Southern California are making art that has achieved a national reputation,” Larson says. 

“This group formed in reaction not to other art forms but to the art world itself,” Frank says. “This is their attempt to re-valorize the ineffable in art… as abstraction is nothing if not the manifestation of the ineffable.” See his essay and a complete catalog of the exhibition at abstraction21c.com.


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