San Francisco’s Valencia Street gallery Right Window presents Breaking Left, an exhibition featuring work made by San José State University students enrolled in Pictorial Art’s Advanced Painting course taught by Shaun O’Dell.
Each semester Advanced Painting focuses on a core topic. This fall our topic is ‘processes of abstraction,’ which we have explored through a survey of more than fifty-thousand years of painting in art history. In the course students are asked to consider abstraction as elemental to the production of art, whether it is deployed pictorially, formally or conceptually.
The origins of the word abstract derive from the latin meaning to ‘pull from’. In effect each work in this show may be considered a piece that has been pulled from or taken away from the whole and temporarily perceived as standing apart. Art critics, historians and artists like Adam Pendleton, Isabelle Graw, Griselda Pollock, Richard J. Powell, Kobena Mercer, Tirza True Latimer and Thomas McEvilley who have applied the framework of colonialism, cultural misappropriation, erasure, exclusion and fragmented economic and political circumstances to better understand modernist movements of abstraction have been central to our understanding of the core topic.