Conceptual Abstraction
by Carol Janis
Sidney Janis Gallery

In the early forties in New York, Mondrian was asked whether the allusion to cityscape and boogie-woogie in his recent painting contradicted his view of a universal nonrepresentational art. He replied that an artist works through intuition, and that theory must follow. But the theory of abstraction as an art of pure form (and with little regard for its suggestive content) has remained through much of Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism.

Currently a younger generation has called this conception into question, and shows a noteworthy openness to a large range of reference: to narration, appropriation, language, illusion, internal imageries, and the play of signs and styles among others. Through such an active poly-referentiality in which memory is key—and parallel to that of some of their non-abstract peers they seek to renew the act of painting.

-Carrol Janis

The gallery is most grateful to the artists who have supplied the text for the catalogue and to Valerie Jaudon for suggesting and guiding the exhibition. We are very appreciative of loans from the following collectors and galleries: Barbara and Howard Morse, Mary Boone, Tom Cugliani, Gagosian, John Good, Pat Hearn, Paul Kasmin, Liz Koury, Daniel Newburg, Postmasters, Max Protetch, Rubin Spangle, Sonnabend, Ealan Wingate.

Artist Statement

Maybe there is no point, no meaning, no grand solution. From the beginning of the Judeo-Christian tradition to the search for a Grand Unified Theory, we’ve looked for a point, a reason to be. My work is an attempt to get the viewer to concentrate on one thing, one moment, one image that breaks the chain of the illusion of the rational.

-David Row
September 28, 1991 New York City