Wilkes University

Future Exhibitions


Drawn to Abstraction

Marks on Paper from the 60s and 70s

Exhibition Dates: March 31 - May 17, 2020

The mid- to late-20th century in America was a time of boundary testing and social critique. Artists, too, challenged accepted techniques and subject matter while critically examining the role of art in society. 
Abstract Expressionism—America’s first home-grown, avant-garde art movement—attempted to heal the traumas of post-war society, emerging from a sense that American society was losing touch with a spiritual core. In the 1960s and ‘70s, the art scene continued to fracture, stylistically and philosophically,as some artists continued to explore the techniques of action painters and color field artists.  
Meanwhile, other artists, identified as “Minimalist,” reacted by returning to push the boundaries of a reductive impulse initiated earlier in the century. Experimentation with placing the emphasis on the experience of the viewer led to Op Art. And Pop Artists spurned the earnest emotionality and psychological alienation at the core of Abstract Expressionism. 
Printmaking brought the excitement of the New York and International art scene within reach of a wider range of collectors. The works in this exhibition capture the vibrancy of the emerging abstract movements during this time, including Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Op Art, and Pop Art. This exhibition features an extraordinary collection of works on paper by artists now widely recognized as giants of 20th-century art: Josef Albers, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Frank Stella, and others.