Ed Clark “The Big Sweep”

Hauser & Wirth (548 W 22nd St.)

poster for Ed Clark “The Big Sweep”

This event has ended.

‘I began to believe, from my conversations with other artists, that the real truth is in the stroke. For me, it is large, bold strokes that do not refer distinctly to seen nature. The paint is the subject. The motions of the strokes give the work life.’

Two full floors of Hauser & Wirth’s 22nd Street building in New York are devoted to ‘The Big Sweep,’ an exhibition covering the six-decade career of pioneering American abstractionist Ed Clark (1926 – 2019). Taking its title from Clark’s dedication to innovative techniques, particularly his revolutionary embrace of the common push broom as a paintbrush, this presentation documents the ways in which Clark pushed the boundaries of abstraction and its conventions beyond expressionism, from his breakthrough introduction of the shaped canvas to his distinctive approach to and impact upon questions of materiality, form and color.

Completed while Clark was living in Paris, ‘Untitled’ (1955) is the earliest work on view and reflects the direction of the artist’s early practice under influences he encountered upon arriving in Europe in 1952, after studying at the Art Institute of Chicago. Here, he has created a work at once in dialogue with the art of his contemporaries, while expressing a velocity discernably his own.

Born in New Orleans in 1926 and raised in Chicago, Clark emerged in the 1950s as a pioneer of the New York School. Over the course of seven decades, his experimentations with pure color, abstract form, and the seductive materiality of paint have yielded an oeuvre of remarkable originality, extending the language of American abstraction. Clark’s breakthroughs have an important place in the story of modern and contemporary art: in the late 1950s he was the first American artist credited with exhibiting a shaped canvas, an innovation that continues to reverberate today. His search for a means to breach the limitations of the conventional paintbrush led him to use a push broom to apply pigment to canvas laid out on the floor. Defying the discreet categories of gestural and hard-edged abstraction, Clark has masterfully interwoven these approaches into a unique form of expressionism.



from September 07, 2023 to October 21, 2023


Ed Clark

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