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Catch It & Lose It

  • Locks Gallery 600 South Washington Square Philadelphia, PA, 19106 United States (map)
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Pat Steir, Sean Scully, Lee Ufan, Bernard Frize, John Armleder, 

Liliane Tomasko, Sadie Benning, Warren Rohrer

October 5 – November 24, 2018

Reception: Friday, October 5, 5:30 - 7:30 PM


The past 60 years have seen the tide of abstract painting ebb and flow. Its time of death is called every few decades following a revival of representational art, the breakneck pace of technology, or the fickleness of the market. And yet, it is miraculously revived every so often—ostensibly for the first time. In its ineffability, it resists communion with contemporary fashion—refusing to serve as a cultural mirror or temporal guide. It is a language forged through materiality, negotiated agency, and distance. As a genre, “abstract painting” connects a rich genealogy of artists united by an ever-evolving syntax that has woven to form a grand tradition only to splinter and reknot in unknowable formation. Taking its name from the work of early twentieth-century British futurist, Mina Loy, Catch It and Lose It seeks a space between certainty and ambiguity, allowing the astonishing breadth of contemporary abstraction to propagate unhindered. 


Catch It and Lose It ruminates on the relationship between two distinct groups of abstraction. The first defines abstraction as a constructed language of strokes which correspond with a painting’s conceptual and performative girding: works which “catch it.” The second selection details the release of agency from the artist and structured clarity of language to an amorphous transcription of meditative processes: works which “lose it.” This is not to say that either camp provides a straightforward answer to questions posed about the significance or intent of abstract painting. Rather, both groups exemplify the complexity of syntactical compositions.

Earlier Event: October 5
Optical / / Obstacle
Later Event: October 5
Tal R - The Minute