Pomona College's "The Student Life" Reviews the Frederick Hammersley Exhibit

"PCMA Interns Curate New Collection of Frederick Hammersley Works," by Khyle Eastin, The Student Life

As you walk into the exhibition "Portraits, Abstractions, and the In-Between: Gathering the Work of Frederick Hammersley," currently on display at the Pomona College Museum of Art (PCMA), you are immediately greeted by a bold splash of color — the show's most colorful work, its vivid centerpiece, "Up Within," which stands out against the more subdued works that constitute the remainder of the exhibition. "Up Within" is not only visually striking, but also speaks to the exhibition's theme of unity among seemingly random works of abstract art. 

A critically acclaimed abstract artist, Hammersley taught painting at Pomona between 1953 and 1962. He rose to prominence in 1959 when he and three other artists — Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, and John McLaughlin, all Southern California-based artists — collaborated for the widely respected, important exhibition “Four Abstract Classicists.” According to PCMA's website, the four artists “were well-known for their hard-edge painting and abstract geometric paintings.” The “Four Abstract Classicists” exhibition itself focused on “a generational approach to abstraction distinct from the gestural system of Abstract Expressionism,” via “hard-edged, flat planes of color.”