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Edna Andrade: Optical Paintings: 1963-1986, 2003
Text by Debra Bricker Balken
76 pages, Softcover
Published by The Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
ISBN: 0-88454-101-0

Presented in the Eleanor Biddle Lloyd Gallery at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the exhibition and accompanying monograph include over forty paintings spanning a 23-year period of this important and under-recognized artist. The exhibition is curated for ICA by art historian/independent curator Debra Bricker Balken. Since the 1960s, Edna Andrade (b. 1917) has created a body of paintings that pursues a formal logic based in geometric abstraction and opticality. Influenced by modernist painters such as Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, and Josef Albers, Andrade’s paintings incorporate a pared-down vocabulary of shapes, such as circles, triangles, squares, and pentagons and a deceptively simple color palate made more complex through the works’ compositions. ICA’s exhibition will focus on paintings from 1963 through 1986: a period when Andrade followed a distinctly optical course, and one which historically coincides with Op Art, Minimalism, and Pattern and Decoration Painting – movements in art that relate to the pure pursuit of geometric and abstract design. Concerned more with the psychology of perception than with expression or narrative, Andrade has written, “with the new art, paintings are no longer to be looked at—or into… They possess positive action.” That is to say, they create an active, bodily, and visual engagement with their viewers. In many ways, Andrade’s work from this period may be seen to presage our own technological Zeitgeist’s fascination with data, repetition, and images as built perceptual machines.