The art world began to evolve rapidly at the start of the twentieth century. Over the years, artists shifted their focus from Realism to Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Urban Art and other transformative styles.
Within each art movement there were variations, like Futurism, Dada and Deconstructivism.
In the 1970s, fashion designer and art collector, Larry Aldrich, noticed that the new generation of American painters were repeating themes that were unlike the bold Pop and Minimalist works that had come before.
“It became apparent,” Aldrich said, “that in painting there was a movement away from the geometric, hard-edge, and minimal, toward more lyrical, sensuous, romantic abstractions in colors which were softer and more vibrant. The artist’s touch is always visible in this type of painting, even when the paintings are done with spray guns, sponges or other objects…Painters were creating, in significant numbers, works that were visually beautiful…”
Aldrich called the style, Lyrical Abstraction and exhibited Lyrical Abstraction paintings in the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, which he created to exhibit works from his collection, and the works of up and coming artists.
Aldrich donated his Lyrical Abstraction paintings to the Whitney Museum, which held an exhibition of the paintings in 1970.
Included in the Whitney exhibit were works by John Seery, who is considered one of the leaders of the Lyrical Abstraction movement.
Seery’s work was also included in a Lyrical Abstraction exhibit at the Boca Raton Museum in 2009 called Expanding Boundaries: Lyrical Abstraction Selections from the Permanent Collection.
Seduced by Color
John Seery’s work has increased in intensity. His colors are bolder and his work is even more lyrical.
In 1975, when he painted A Year in Solitude, for sale at VFA, Seery wrote, “Sometimes when I begin a painting I have an image of a color that I want to explore. I can be seduced by color. In fact, it is usually this seduction by a specific color that initiates the painting. Once I choose a color, I have to validate my choice. I do this by making the color rationalize itself on the canvas; as soon as that first color touches the canvas the rationalization begins. The initial color seeks to harmonize with the rest of the canvas (to me). It suggests options ─ flicking through a mental card catalogue of colors and when the right one comes I can feel it and apply it. Its purpose is to jolt the initial color into life. Other colors enrich and solve. Each new color must have its own identity and yet harmonize with each other. Each painting has its own logic and this logic is expressed through harmony.”
John Seery lives and works in Florida.
John Seery at VFA