Archive for the abstract expressionism Category

Horse Show in the works

Posted in abstract, abstract expressionism, Art, art on paper, contingent art, design, events, exhibits, expressionism, expressionist, figurative, gesture, mixed media, monotype, oil painting, Painting, printmaking, Tom Bennett, Work in Progress, work on paper with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2013 by Tom Bennett

I have several works in an upcoming group show in Brooklyn. The exhibition has a theme: Horses. Theme shows are sometimes iffy, but I have confidence this will be very good. These two mixed media monotype/paintings in progress are part of several final pieces I’m working on for this show. The first one is in a very unresolved stage.


Pheromone 2013: Revisiting a Painting

Posted in abstract, abstract expressionism, Art, design, expressionism, expressionist, figurative, gesture, nude, oil painting, Painting, Tom Bennett, Toni Tiller with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2013 by Tom Bennett

This is a painting that has gone through a few variations over the past 8 months. I posted the first stage of it here : last May.  I had a conversation with our own Toni Tiller about it and she exhibited once again her insight with a suggestion concerning the editing of an unresolved area of  this abstracted design. The painting successfully translated form, color, value through rhythm and movement  but became confused and clunky in the ‘head’ area. I repainted that territory and pulled it into a more tangible architecture.  Its done, finally.

Pheromone  2013
Pheromone 2013, 2013, oil on canvas,  38 x 62″

From the archives: Canecutter

Posted in abstract expressionism, Art, art on paper, expressionist, figurative, gesture, monoprint, monotype, nude, printmaking, Tom Bennett, Toni Tiller, work on paper with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2012 by Tom Bennett

Here’s an old monotype inspired by Toni Tiller in a swimming pool one late Connecticut summer day.


Canecutter, 2008, monotype, 17″ x 11″, private collection

The Final Pheromone

Posted in abstract, abstract expressionism, Art, expressionism, expressionist, figurative, nude, oil painting, Painting, Tom Bennett with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2012 by Tom Bennett

Last week I posted a WIP and this week I post the finish, which isn’t much different. I made a few tweaks here and there; I took a more accurate photo. Tell me what you think.

Pheromoning (formerly limbs 2)

Pheromoning, oil on canvas, 36″ x 62″

Sketches for Painting

Posted in abstract expressionism, Art, art on paper, Drawing, figurative, homage, mixed media, nude, oil painting, Painting, sculpture, technique, Tom Bennett, work on paper with tags , , , , , , , on August 25, 2011 by Tom Bennett

One of the many themes I’ve worked on over the years is the male figure; in particular the male back, often inspired by classical painting and sculpture. I find The heightened muscular forms and volumes of figures created by renaissance and baroque artists like Michelangelo, Bandinelli and Caravaggio great subjects for abstraction and distortion. Many of the details of figures from antiquity, when looked at with an open perspective create vast conceptual worlds of abstracted landscape and space.

Here I’m making loose color studies as an exploration for larger finished pieces. Its an exercise in balancing control and accident on the way to discovering expressive formal, emotive and metaphysical paths. I’ve included an older oil painting I created years ago in Spain as one of the first forays into this area. It was based on sketches and watercolors I had done from a sculpture of Neptune in the Piazza Signoria in Florence.


Herc, mixed media on paper, 12″ x 9″


Signoria, mixed media, 12″ x 9″

Barcelona Neptune, 1986, oil on canvas

Barcelona Neptune, 1986, oil on canvas, 48″ x 36″

From Brooklyn: Al Held

Posted in abstract expressionism, Art, Painting, Tom Bennett with tags , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2011 by Tom Bennett

Al Held was born in Brooklyn, grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant and the East Bronx. His father was a jeweler who worked in a factory. Thrown out of school at age 16 for chronic truancy, he hung out at the movies. He said, “I was very, very malcontent. I just wanted to get out of my skin, and the movies were a perfect escape. I’m an expert on ’40s movies.” Held joined the Navy to “get away from home-fast.” After a two-year hitch, he returned to New York. Among the people he met at a young Socialist gathering place was a man who was studying at the Art Students League. Held was interested, and, after auditing a class there, Held became sufficiently intrigued to secretly attend a few classes in drawing and painting. To everyone’s surprise, he used the GI Bill to enroll as a full-time student. “I had never been to a museum–my family was not cultured in that sense.” In 1949, he arranged to go to Paris where he spent the next three years studying at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere. He returned to New York in 1953, having become a modernist. In the next few years he established himself as a working artist and began to exhibit his work. His first solo show took place at a New York gallery in 1959.

After launching his career as an Abstract Expressionist, Held became dissatisfied with this type of painting and began exhibiting canvases filled with crisp-edged, raucously colored geometric shapes. Dubbed “concrete abstractions,” these works established Held as a critical success. Nancy Grimes writes in ARTnews (February 1988):
“By virtue of its public scale and its clarity of form, color, and structure, Held’s painting from this period projected an exuberant, humanistic confidence–a refreshing alternative to Abstract Expressionism’s tormented vision of an imperiled self.”

By the late 1960s, Held’s career was secure. He was exhibiting almost every year at the Emmerich Gallery as well as in numerous galleries and museums throughout the United States and Europe. In 1962 he had been appointed to the faculty of the Yale School of Art (where he taught until 1980), and four years later he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Many artists would not have done what Held did at this point–risk losing critical and financial support by turning a successful style inside out–but he thought his painting, and for that matter all avant-garde painting, had reached an impasse. The concrete abstractions had become so simple, their formal vocabulary so reduced, that further growth had become problematic.

In the late 1960s, Held jeopardized his career by the decision to break up the picture plane with suggestions of volume and depth-challenging the prevailing “formalist dictum that a primary task of painting was to reveal its essential quality of flatness. . . . he began the black and white spatial conundrums that constituted his next body of work.” (Grimes) During this period, from 1967-78, Held was accused of going into figurative art. By the late 1970s he initiated another major change in his work by reintroducing color as a way of articulating forms. This alienated many viewers who had begun to understand his black-and-white paintings and considered them to be his finest.

Held: ” the best abstract painting transforms its formal qualities into metaphors for truths unavailable to direct perception. In the world we live in, nonobjective art is the unique vehicle to try and discuss things like: How do things come together? How do multiple and contradictory truths exist in the same place at the same time? The formal qualities are important to me only in the sense that they’re metaphors for the way I see the world.” (Grimes)

From the NY Times:
Craig F. Starr Gallery
5 East 73rd Street, Manhattan
Through Aug. 19

In the summer of 1959 the Museum of Modern Art mounted New York’s first big survey of postwar American painting. Titled “The New American Painting,” it emphasized the work of the leading Abstract Expressionists and enthralled a young Brooklyn-born painter named Al Held, a veteran of World War II who studied in Paris in the early 1950s before returning to New York.

Over the summer Held, who died at 76 in 2005, responded to the show with a series of small, vigorous paintings in acrylic, executed on paper usually no more than two feet on a side, that he later mounted on board. The show at Starr presents 13 examples of these efforts, to radiant effect.

With full-strength reds, blacks, yellows and blues, they show Held bending the gestural, relatively unhinged brushwork of much Abstract Expressionism into a rough-hewn geometry. As Phyllis Tuchman suggests in her informative essay in the show’s catalog, he also compressed their hieroglyphic implications into loquacious circles and triangles that suggest the letters of some long-lost but implicitly enthusiastic alphabet.

The predictive energy of these works is considerable. Minimalism and Pop Art both seem to wait in the wings, along with the crisp, hard-edged geometries that Held would shortly devise. But occasionally their undulating strokes introduce the rhythms of land or sea, evoking early-20th-century American Modernists like Arthur Dove. Either way, the paintings show a young artist coming into his own, mapping his options, ruling nothing out but proceeding selectively.

heres more if you’re into it: