15 February 2010

The Shape of Abstraction

Collection of 15 Drawings, by Allan McCollum
Artist's pencil on museum board

On the last day of February, my daughter and I went to BU for a wonderful art exhibition, The Shape of Abstraction, curated by Rachael Arauz. The size of the show itself is very manageable - no museum-itis - and it is remarkably freeing to let go of narrative expectation. All the works use the same vocabulary of simple shapes and once again the lesson is that limitations are liberating.

Ode a l'Oubli, Louis Bourgeois
Fabric and color lithograph book

The usual suspects are assembled, including Josef Albers, Ellsworth Kelly and Sol LeWitt, but also included are less well-known (to me, anyway) artists, and surprising work by major names, such as Louise Bourgeois. Like every good thematic show, the works complement each other and serve up a performance of variations on the theme of shapes both regular and amorphous. The exhibit, which closes March 28, has a very good catalog. The link is too long to fit, but if you go the Boston Globe website and search using the curator's last name, Arauz, you'll find Sebastion Smee's review. The link to the gallery itself is http://www.bu.edu/art/webPages/mainPage.html
Another view of the deconstructed book

These shapes seem at once familiar and unknown
An added treat was the exhibit of student work on display at the College of Fine Arts, where the gallery is located. BU continues its excellent tradition in painting. It's audition time, too, for the aspiring performance music students, so we saw some bassists lugging their instruments through the lobby, accompanied by helpers - friends or parents - with the high stools. Only the harp has more challenging logistics, I think.