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Jamey Hart’s “Strange Attractor”
The rise of abstraction in the middle of the 20th century was a response to hundreds of years of strict academic standards in western art, and especially painting. Before the open art market and invention of the camera, most artists made a living through commissions of representational or religious imagery by wealthy, elite patrons. With the rise of the middle class and photography, artists had more freedom to explore nonrepresentational imagery and abstraction. The movement reached its critical mass with Abstract Expressionists in the 1950s, such as Jackson Pollack and Mark Rothko, who mastered gestural (or “action”) and color field painting, respectively, as well as hard-edge geometric abstraction (AKA Op Art), pioneered in the 1960s by artists such as Cleveland-based painters Julian Stanczak and Ed Mieczkowski.
More than 50 years later, artists continue to explore the boundaries between representation and abstraction in their on-going, collective efforts to portray intangible concepts and feelings. Curated by the organization’s co-founder and executive director Liz Maugans, Zygote Press presents Free Style: Tease and Tension Between Abstraction and Representation, an exhibition showcasing local and regional artists exploring abstraction and its often-contentious relationship with representational imagery. Showcasing a diverse range of approaches to abstraction, Free Style includes prints, paintings, drawings and mixed media collages.
“This is my own guilty opportunity to curate artists who I have worked with on the periphery of Zygote,” says Maugans. “This exhibition has some young emerging artists fresh out of school and some artists, like Patricia Zinmeister Parker, who has been impacting our gallery scene and included in corporate and private collections for a long time. I think these artists in the show are really talented and hard-working in their studios and the community. My background as both a painter and printmaker in my KSU undergrad days beckon my inner painter to come out. This exhibition of paint-heavy works, fringed with painterly paintings and straight up prints is so satisfying and I am so excited to celebrate the great work of the Free Style roster.”
Participating artists are: Justin Brennan, Dave Cintron, Jamey Hart, Michael Lombardy, James March, Kelsey Moulton, Patricia Zinmeister Parker, Scott Pickering and Grace Summanen. Opening with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 12, Free Style remains on view through June 24 during regular business hours or by appointment. The exhibition is presented with support from local artist Tom Balboa. (Zygote Press) 1410 East 30th St., 216-621-2900, zygotepress.com.