For the 2022 edition of the Armory Show, Garth Greenan Gallery is pleased to present six works by gallery artists Al Loving, Esteban Cabeza de Baca, Howardena Pindell, and Cannupa Hanska Luger. For each artist, a single, critical departure from formal convention became an essential element of their now iconic style.
Despite the whirlwind success of his hard-edged abstractions (which made him the first African American to secure a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum in 1968), Al Loving decided to radically depart from his early works to “[discover] whether there is Black art and what it looks like.” In Untitled (1982), Loving abandons hard-edged abstractions, combining two signature media – torn strips of canvas and painted paper –– into a new sense of geometric abstraction with the realities of vernacular traditions, including his mother’s quilting and recycled materials. The white outlines of the torn paper against the fabric backdrop serve to highlight the artist’s embrace of materiality and improvisation.
In Quantum of Sunset (2021), Esteban Cabeza de Baca sets sprigs of yellow flowers against kaleidoscopic veins of purple and blue. Stunning bursts of red pigment, derived from cactus-eating insects, electrify the mesmerizing background. The artist, of both Mexican and Native American heritage, frequently works en plein air, recasting the practice of landscape painting—once a surveying tool of settlers and colonizers—within his own practice. In this work, the sprigs seem to float surreally in space, confounding Cartesian single-point perspective and interrogating the dialectical relationships between colonial acts and their critiques.
Howardena Pindell’s spray dot paintings of the 1970s are among her most iconic works. In works like Untitled (1972), Pindell sprayed paint through hole-punched cardstock, forming layers of vibrant dots. The result is a staggering and sensuous interplay between background and foreground—one that creates endless fluctuations in light and color. Last year, Pindell began revisiting this early techniques for the first time in over three decades, and the presentation will feature one of these new spray dot paintings alongside a historical work.
Cannupa Hanska Luger’s large ceramic sculpture, Emergent (2022), is a reliquary of Native histories and Indigenous autonomy. In the 19th century, non-Native settlers and military forces undertook the intentional slaughter of bison herds, driving the species to near extinction. This deliberate, destructive act destroyed the economies, food sources, and lifeways of Plains Tribes. In the work, ash black bones emerge from the floor like those exposed in an eroded riverbank, drawing attention to how the loss of a single species has impacted communities and the environment.