The Hard-Edge style was one of the first widely recognized art movements to originate in our region, coming at a time when Los Angeles was considered a cultural backwater. Often contrasted to the loaded gestures of Abstract Expressionism, Hard-Edge came to represent a distinctly West Coast approach to modernist abstraction that emphasized a cool, detached, and formal contemplation of vision and aesthetics.
Los Angeles is no longer just the edge of the art world, but it continues to nurture painters finding new languages of abstraction. This exhibition brings together leading historical Hard-Edge painters with four contemporary artists based in Southern California whose works expand our notions of what abstraction can be and mean. Often drawing on visual traditions outside of European modernism, Jackie Amézquita, Linda Arreola, Aryana Minai, and Kristopher Raos use shape, texture, color, and material to engage questions of class, spirituality, memory, and politics. In contrast to Hard-Edge’s reputation as formal and removed, these contemporary works draw close to the world, jumbling and reorganizing the boundaries among tastes, places, times, and states of mind.
Accompanying the Benton’s survey of the work of Hard-Edge painter June Harwood, this exhibition contextualizes her work within a regional tradition of abstraction that has remained consistent through LA’s history.