All things in the universe start from a point and return to a point. One point calls up a new point, and extends into a line. Everything is a scene of gathering and dispersal of points and lines. Existence is a point and life is a line, so I am also a point and a line.
-Untitled note, n.d., from Lee Ufan (Tokyo: Bijutsu Sjuppansha, 1986)
From the metal, mechanical edges of Chimes’ constructions to the sinuous drips in Steir’s paintings, line takes different forms in this group exhibition of paintings predominantly from the 1970s. Natural or mechanic, gestural or rigid, the painted line is explored from past to present.
The influence of Minimalism in the 1960s had profound effect on abstract painting. Artists in the following decade continued experimenting with line and grid—questioning the very act and object of painting as they wrested its meanings from the dominance of gesture, as exemplified by Abstract Expressionism in the post-war period.
This selection of paintings from the 1970s shows a range of Minimalist-inspired experimentations with abstraction: hazy, striped plexiglas paintings by Thomas Chimes (1921-2009), a Day-Glo round-edged canvas by Ralph Humphrey (1932-1990), atmospheric grid-based oil paintings by Warren Rohrer (1927-1995), subtly-lined acrylic monochromes by Sean Scully (b. 1945), and a pencil drawing by Sol LeWitt (1928-2007), are seen in relation to more recent paintings by Lee Ufan (b. 1936) and Pat Steir (b. 1940), who continue to explore the legacies of line and gesture in abstract painting today.