This opened the door for paintings like “#1, 1965” by John McLaughlin, with its Zen roots, hard edges, locked in black and white, to come out of storage and onto museum walls. Also a handful of new acquisitions, including Terry Winters’ wall-sized 1991 stunner “Event Horizon” and Ron Gorchov’s saddle-shaped 1986 raw “Capital” to make their Lincoln debut.
And, moving forward from the mid-century, Mason liberated abstraction from its white and masculine roots, presenting a diverse exhibition with 40% of his works by women and paintings by black, Puerto Rican, Cuban and African artists.
All of this is unwittingly captured on a gallery wall where the oldest painting in the exhibition, Norman Lewis’s 1958 “Untitled,” shares a wall with his most recent, Lisa Corinne Davis’s “Deductive Data,” which has was completed earlier this year.
Lewis, the only black painter among the first generation of Abstract Expressionists, used layers of light paint over color to create his hazy painting, while Davis works in blocks, emphasizing the grid that underlies a much of the abstract. Both have palettes that, to some degree, reflect their heritage.
More directly, however, Donald Odili Odita’s 2010 ‘Passage’ uses a distinctly African palette, juxtaposing colors in an improbably European-derived painting with sharp bursts of color tilting the canvas.