Out of Easy Reach Expands the Limits of Abstraction
An exhibition review of the multi-site project Out of Easy Reach, which was mounted at the DePaul Art Museum, Gallery 400, and the Stony Island Arts Bank.
EXCERPT: "The legacy of abstraction carries codes that have historically delimited whose work is the right brand of formalism. Unsurprisingly, straight white men are largely those lauded with pushing the limits and language of abstraction in art history. This is due to a complex cultural matrix weighted on multiple sides by the increasing marketization of art since the 1980s, staid museum collection practices which have only recently begun to fissure, and the limited scope of the art historical canon, which is structurally prone to establishing a margin and center. All of these phenomena fall under the volatile constellation of race, gender and sexual politics in American society, which plays out in the art world just as they do elsewhere. History tells us the concerns of abstraction are typically limited to this cultural schema, prioritizing formal inquiry while distancing the body from their frame and inviting only some folks to the party. Art historical colloquialisms further limit abstraction’s bounds—terms like “hard-edged,” “color field,” “geometric” and so on conjure painting, defining what media can and cannot be abstracted."