Washington, DC

“42nd Biennial”

Corcoran Gallery of Art

Abstraction is once again on the creative march, and, indeed, many of the works in this exhibition use known means, in novel ways, to uncanny, often witty effect. Though the work in this show is predominantly abstract, many of the paintings incorporate representational imagery. Titles also play an important role in much of this art, generating associations, suggestive, perhaps, of a calculated turn to the literary. This is a way of pushing abstraction beyond the art-about-art dead end of naive formality. L. C. Armstrong, for example, uses the grid as a sardonic calendar in A Month of Sundays, 1990. Nancy Chunn quotes figural images from early Chinese history, which she then spreads across a grid, sometimes incorporating a shadow drawing of the Buddha or a map of China. The overall effect is an ironical synthesis of “gestural” and geometrical elements. Lydia Dona also mixes gesture and

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