New York

Frederick Hammersley

Ameringer Yohe Fine Art

For all their formalist rigor, and however judiciously proportioned they may be—all the planes are in “measured” relationship to one another—Frederick Hammersley’s paintings offer up contrasts that are generally unresolved. His works may be geometrical—Hammersley is one of the founding fathers of so-called hard-edge painting, which originated in 1950s Los Angeles partly in reaction to the apparently ill-disciplined messiness of New York AbEx, replacing it with something of the clarity of De Stijl—but they are geometrically uncanny. That is, they subvert compositional harmony even as they evoke it.

In Costume Change, 1981, for example, the canvas is bisected horizontally into two broad planes, one black and one white; at the top edge of each plane, Hammersley has centered a small red square. He thus implies the shapes’ unity but ensures that they remain polarized nonetheless. The work’s

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