A survey at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago illustrates how the artist shifted from formalist painting to personal, political art. By Claire Voon
CHICAGO - When Howardena Pindell was working in the Museum of Modern Art's curatorial ranks in the late 1960s and '70s, she sometimes visited its frame shop to sift for treasures in its trash. She would pick out the discards of mat boards, cut out to create windows, and, with permission, take the beautifully beveled pieces. She obscured these canvases with clusters of punched-out papers, at times accentuating them with dollops of paint or holding them by thin thread. The works exemplify her adeptness at transforming detritus into elegant abstractions with alluring optical depth, as well as her long-lasting exploration of order within chaos, and vice versa. They are small versions of the large, unstretched paintings for which she is most known, which gleefully pushed away from painting traditions at the time.
Image: Howardena Pindell, Untitled, #20, 1974
Mixed media collage on board
12 x 9 5/8 inches
© Howardena Pindell
Courtesy the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York