I recently had the opportunity to visit the “ Epic Abstraction” exhibit at the Met.The choice of the word “ epic” was no mistake, even so I was unprepared for the sheer size of most of the work included. After an initial adjustment, i noticed that th gallery space lends itself to both detail and distant inspection of all of the work very comfortably.
Many of the pieces owned by the Met gave a great sampling of renown abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock, Willem DeKooning, Ellsworth Kelly and Joan Mitchell, to name a few. The most memorable of these for me was the immensity and buzz of a room of Mark Rothko’s color block paintings. These artists really had something to say and they shouted it! The New York School, credited with a focus on movement, process and scale was speaking to epic post WWII ideas like history and time.
A pleasant surprise was the large number of female artists represented. Louise Nevelson’s ,“ Mrs N’s Palace” has a very prominent place in this lineup. It is interesting to notice the diversity of found objects and the flat black uniformity of the exterior while wondering about the interior, which is completely private.It is said “ we are all building our house here on earth…” Hers makes for a varied and interesting installation.
Finally, there were a fair number of lesser known and more contemporary artists given space and recognition as artists continuing with an abstracted focus on process, movement and some very BIG ideas.
After all is painted and hung, Ellsworth Kelly himself. puts it well, “ What is it? Why is it? and How does it make you feel?” This left me feeling like there was a lot to be said and it needs epic proportions to convey it.