Sarah Sze, 2 (Full Color) (2011), silkscreen [Whatcom Museum, Bellingham WA, Apr 19-Aug 17] From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation
Central to this exhibit, drawn from the collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation, is the theme of recurring imagery in artworks since the 1960s. The show has a strong focus on post-World War II printmaking in America, but also includes some painting and sculpture.
Many pre-eminent artists, including Roy Lichtenstein, Keith Haring, Robert Rauschenberg and Edward Ruscha, are represented in this colourful exhibit. Highlighted is the innovative potential of repetition in a wide range of artistic approaches, from evocative personal and social subject matter to highly developed formal considerations.
Josef Alberss work Homage to the Square (1967) is a stellar example of the formal possibilities of repeating a geometric form through sets of colour relationships that create different optical and psychological effects. Works by other artists interested in appropriating geometric imagery, such as Sol LeWitt and Donald Judd, extend the theme initiated by Albers.
Contemporary artists, such as Tara Donovan, recall repeating forms that exist in the natural world. Cultural motifs and stylized, narrative depictions with Pop Art leanings are explored in the works of multimedia artists Romare Bearden, Red Grooms and Mickalene Thomas. Chuck Closes portraiture and John Baldessaris I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art (1971) are other insightful works based on the notion of a repetitive motif.
The practice of making multiples in both figurative and abstract art often yields poignant subtleties and complex perceptual relationships among a group of images. Pop artists are among the most recognized for using this type of repetition in interpreting elements from everyday life like Andy Warhol, who is iconic for elaborating the concept.