My second exhibition was a real emergence in terms of defining a specific aesthetic. It was an exhibition of large abstract paintings inspired by my readings in the history of the New York School, and how that generation continues to create a consensus for the motivation of young painters everywhere.
Having been raised on Conceptualism, I knew that it might be considered a step backward in terms of the formal language and approach to the notion of abstraction, but here I was touching the very artistic passion for abstraction within my own generation, and it was compelling to say the least.
This exhibition took shape over the course of eight months. I am not sure whose work specifically began the conception out of which it sprang, at least three or four artists contributed to my developing aesthetic. I cannot list them in any specific order. I would rather talk about how the art historical perspective I had aided me in recognizing the inherent value of work by contemporary abstract artists. I have since that time organized at least five other exhibitions about painterly abstraction and the cultural imprint it maintains.
As far as my recollection stands, I can say that I met or heard about the majority of these painters from one another, and met them at various gallery receptions including those at Pierogi 2000, where I had visited upon the gallery's inaugural exhibition, which was for Robert Smithson, a Conceptual artist considered highly by my father and others of our shared milieu in the gallery world. Despite the Conceptual leanings of this specific exhibition, the gallery by and large represented the creative talents of the local Williamsburg community, which was heavily expressive of painterly and otherwise pictorial elements. The gallery's openings were special. Located only two blocks from the Bedford Avenue subway stop, they served Polish Vodka and Pierogis to visitors.
Karen Arm was one of those I met here. When I visited her Tribeca studio, I was confronted by a series of large abstract paintings that alternated between scenes of the galaxy and depictions of smoke rising and intertwining. An exploration into the expression of mystery had led her to depict the breadth and structure of the cosmos and alternately the most effervescent of elemental exchanges.