Taking place in London and Los Angeles this Summer, the two galleries will focus on the various forms of abstraction taking place in Britain and the USA’s West Coast in the 1960s.
In London, Flowers Gallery will present works by Lorser Feitelson, Karl Benjamin, and Helen Lundeberg, leading figures of West Coast abstraction during the 1960s, best known as founders of California Hard Edge painting.
Feitelson and Benjamin were among four artists to show in the celebrated 1959 exhibition curated by Jules Langsner, Four Abstract Classicists at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science and Art. The show also travelled to London and Belfast under the title West Coast Hard Edge. Distinguished by crisp geometric compositions and flat, clean fields of colour, their work was seen as a reaction to the emotive concerns of Abstract Expressionism, and signalled the emergence of a new ‘cool’ Californian abstract painting style.
Karl Benjamin’s geometric abstractions are characterised by their resonant colour and repeated shapes, frequently developed using rational structures based on numerical progressions. The works in the present exhibition include grids, mirrored forms, and interlocking sequences of squares, rectangles and circles in vividly contrasting colour combinations.
Lorser Feitelson’s carefully planned and rational compositions investigate the interrelations and tensions between geometric forms, often as an abstract investigation of the human figure. The painting Untitled, Magical Space Forms explores the chromatic interplay of minimally composed, angled bands of colour; while examples of later works in the exhibition demonstrate a further reduction of form into sensuously curved lines.
Helen Lundeberg’s subtle geometric forms relate to both the natural landscape and the built environment, incorporating delicate, desert-tones of ochre, rust and gold, and tautly defined architectural motifs such as doors and archways. Although not included in the definitive exhibition Four Abstract Classicists, Lundeburg’s work was later recognised as a vital contribution to the development of West Coast Hard-Edge painting.