“It [Abstraction] demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colors, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential."
Abstract art may look “easy,” but the artists who pursued it gained strong technical skills from their academic training, which they rejected in favor of art that was not “of” anything. So what is abstraction? In the 1900s, experimental artists in Europe reacted against what they thought was an outdated visual language that had changed little since the Renaissance. Instead of directly representing reality, these artists used line, color, shape, and form as expressive elements that evoked personal, often poetic reflections of the world around them.
Some artists abstracted from objects, people, and places that inspired them. Others composed pictures of formal elements only. With no recognizable connection to the real world, these works are known as non-objective art. Think of this type of art as the equivalent to music. Although early abstract artists were met with criticism, they spearheaded a revolution in the visual arts that developed and influenced artists throughout Europe, America, and Latin America.
This exhibition presents a range of abstract possibilities, from the biomorphic (abstraction reminiscent of living forms) to the geometric, demonstrating the many variants of abstract printmaking throughout the Americas in the 20th century. Some works include figurative elements, but they are portrayed in imaginative rather than literal ways. Strong, energetic line and gesture are key elements that unite these artworks across geographies and over time.
Poetry in Motion is organized by Phoenix Art Museum. It is made possible through the generosity of donors to the Museum's annual fund.
Admission is free for Phoenix Art Museum Members, Military Members and youth aged 5 and under; included with general admission. Not a Member yet? Join here!
This exhibition is offered to the general public for free during voluntary donation, free-access hours from 3–9 pm each Wednesday, from 6–10 pm on the First Friday of each month, and the second weekend of each month from 10am–5pm on Saturday and noon–5 pm on Sunday.
Interested in coming as a group? For group sales information, click here.
Exhibitions Page: Sergio Gonzales Tornero, Paisaje invierno (Winter Landscape) (detail), 1967. Lithograph. Collection of Phoenix Art Museum, Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Thomas.
Banner: Clinton Adams, Second Hand Store II (Tienda de segunda mano II) (detail), 1953. Lithograph. Collection of Phoenix Art Museum, Purchased with funds provided by R. and G. Miller.