Making Visible The Invisible: Abstract Artists of the Pacific Northwest

Kunst gibt nicht das Sichtbare wieder, sondern macht sichtbar.
Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.                                                 Paul Klee, 1920

Jeffrey Thomas in collaboration with the Murdoch Exhibition Space is pleased to present a timely and diverse late summer exhibition called Making Visible The Invisible: Abstract Artists of the Pacific Northwest opening with a reception for the artists and the public on Wednesday August 2, 2017.  

Scheduled to engage visitors to both the Seattle Art Fair and Portland’s own Converge 45 art event, this group exhibition of paintings, works on paper and sculpture explore various traditions of abstraction in the visual arts.

In the age of the internet, digital media and virtual reality, what purposes or relevance do fine art objects like sculptures and paintings have?  It’s all been done before, hasn’t it?  What can paint on canvas represent now that we have Wikipedia and Google image search?  Artists using traditional media are frustrated by the lure of shiny new technologies and the challenges of creating artwork that still matters.  Typical of this suspicion is this quote on abstract artist Zio Ziegler’s website:

Humanity is inundated with more images than in any previous time in history. We are more attuned to visual stimuli, but we are also more optically exhausted. Humans are living more proximate to each other than ever before…connected via the ever multiplying swarm of social media networks. What can the slow, singular imagery of paintings say in the age of smartphones and selfies?  

Making Visible TheInvisible: Abstract Artists of the Pacific Northwest champions the notion that interaction with art objects can still generate a profound and lasting experience for different contemporary audiences.    After all,  abstract art is an expression of pure form and color, analogous to music.  It has carried a rich variety of meanings since its inception in the second decade of the twentieth century, and its history continues to the present. 

Art should be like a holiday: something to give a person the opportunity to see things differently and to change his point of view. 
                                                                                                                                  Paul Klee 

This exhibition features an expanse of artists who have been influenced by the Pacific Northwest region and by its by the terrain, customs, colors and associations.  These artists span decades of working in many different styles from many different backgrounds.  All are united in their sense of reaching for what is not easily seen by the human eye.  Each has developed a personal abstract language and thriving studio practice that is fueled by an embrace with the unknown.

The genesis for this exhibition came from an exhibition of the same name nearly 10 years ago at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (Wisconsin).

The goal of these and other artists was to develop an art which expressed a reality beyond the material, a consciousness like that of a meditative state in which ordinary reality is transcended. Knowing this purpose casts a different light on the blank or monochrome canvases, the empty spaces, and the simple geometrical or biomorphic shapes of many abstract works. They might best be seen as meditative aids meant to reveal the transcendent or provoke a transcending consciousness.  Making Visible the Invisible reveals abstract art to have a language of great stylistic breadth that yields ambitious meaning in a series of dialects: geometric, biomorphic, and gestural. As a challenge to the senses and the mind, abstract art has received interpretations from both artists and critics that range from the perceptual to the metaphysical. These selected works demonstrate the array of poetic meanings that have been ascribed to abstract forms, including a concern for the effect of abstract shape on our perceptions; a wish to map conceptual structures; and attempts to make visible the invisible world of nature’s underlying patterns and forces.

In this updated regional version, Making Visible The Invisible: Abstract Artists of the Pacific Northwest  is also the first exhibition in the newly christened Murdoch Exhibition Space, now developed as a versatile gallery space that has been developed to encourage
independent curators, artists and art dealers with the opportunity to produce a diverse series of six-week exhibitions.

The work in this exhibition demonstrate the array of poetic meanings
that have been ascribed to abstract forms, including a concern for the effect of abstract shape on our perceptions; a wish to map conceptual structures; and attempts to make visible the invisible world of nature’s underlying order.

 Please join us in support of fine art and artists by showing up and visiting the exhibition.