In this issue, we focus on the work of individual artists exhibited currently or recently at museums in diverse geographic locations that include the Southeastern United States, the Northeastern United States, and the United Kingdom. Collectively, the four artists represent three different generations. Hannah Höch, a key figure in Berlin Dada, was of the generation that came of age around World War I, while Medford Johnston and Jim Waters, two artists on The Art Section’s hometown art scene in Atlanta, were born during or immediately after World War II. Mary Reid Kelley belongs to the post Baby Boom generation sometimes called Generation X.
Although these artists work in diverse media ranging from painting to collage and photomontage to video production and installation, all produce powerful, referential images that push toward abstraction even as they remain anchored in representation. In her photomontages and collages, Höch begins with images literally abstracted from magazines and other sources and juxtaposes them in ways that both critique the social implications of the images and constitute new realities. While Johnston’s paintings may appear to be variations on a purely abstract set of design elements, they actually derive from the figure of a Masai shepherd holding his walking staff. Waters’s many pointed stars are abstract color fields, yet also reminiscent of word balloons used in advertising and comic art. Finally, in her videos Kelley employs live actors who are costumed, made up, and integrated into their environments in ways that turn them into human expressionist drawings.
I wish to thank our writers, Deanna Sirlin, Anna Leung, and Lauren Razzore and Harry Weil, for their wonderful essays and our readers for your continued support.
Spring is almost here! Enjoy!
Philip Auslander is the Editor of The Art Section.
Mary Reid Kelley with Patrick Kelley
Still from The Syphilis of Sisyphus, 2011
HD video, sound, 11 min. 2 sec.
Courtesy the artist and Fredericks and Freiser, New York