Daniel Kany, Art Review: Paintings in the Key of Bob Dylan anchor strong line up at UMMA, Portland Press Herald, Aug. 25, 2013
Signage (Artists in Cars) curated by Joanne Freeman, Vice
President of the American Abstract Artists
IDEELART, Online Exclusive
490 Atlantic Gallery, Brooklyn
September 16 - October 29, 2017
Curated by Joanne Freeman
Franklin Einspruch, When Hostility Turns into Mannerism. Subtle Simplicity Offers Respite, Art Critical, Dec. 16, 2013
Wit" is defined as a natural aptitude for using words and ideas in a quick and inventive way to create humor. Abstract language is not immediately associated with humor, as pictorial and narrative language can seem more accessible. Why certain shapes and colors appear humorous depends on context, cultural associations or individual experience. But sometimes the reason is not tangible, or sensible, some things are just funny.
Analyzing wit in reference to abstract art and language is a sure way to diffuse its potency, since its delivery feeds on the novel and unexpected. Disruption of the status quo helps to define humor. Modernist aesthetics surrounding form, balance and proportion still provide a common reference point from which to view abstract art.
This shared visual language has become part of our collective consciousness and dictates our expectations. When preconceived standards are disrupted they can alter assumptions, surprise, reinvent and communicate wit.
The conversation between artist and viewer is enhanced by recognition and discovery. A small gesture like a nod or wink can provide a link with the mindset of the artist and set the tone of the conversation. It is a mistake to polarize humor and intellect since they work best in unison. Wit suggests qualities of the human spirit in an overly synchronized world, be it the slip, the twist, the pratfall, it's the imperfection that identifies the personality.
The artists selected for this show share a sense of humanity and amusement that resonates in their work. You could call it a "twinkle in the eye" or a "joy" that permeates through what they do. I think of it as an inner wit that can't be kept down, as long as someone is willing to play.
The artists featured in this exhibition are Marina Adams, Polly Apfelbaum, Joanne Freeman, Joe Fyfe, Barbara Gallucci, Phillis Ideal, Jonathan Lasker, Sarah Lutz, Doreen McCarthy, Mario Naves, Thomas Nozkowski, Paul Pagk, Ruth Root, Fran Shalom, and Stephen Westfall.
The exhibition will be accompanied with a catalogue. An artist panel discussion will be held on Thursday, Febuary 14 from 6 to 8 pm.
Joanne Freeman; Curator 2013
Joanne Freeman, Wit at the Painting Center, Catalogue essay, February, 2013