Curated by Alteronce Gumby
In art, one cannot forecast what the future will look like. We can make predictions based on technological trends, the social and political climate, and cultural shifts that permeate the collective subconscious. However, how anything will manifest can only be understood from the perspective of history. The why and how the process of art-making contains tangible breaks can only be described through what art-making is, which is ultimately the production of possibilities in the dedication to making art.
Alteronce Gumby sat down with artist David Reed, and in exchanging thoughts on the academic side of the art world and the development of Abstraction, narratives & stories about Reed’s interaction with Willem de Kooning during a visit he made to The New York Studio School in the late ’60s, describe an artist who thought of himself as always working on his paintings. However, to have reached that active state of being, the now-known group of Abstract Expressionists to which he belongs must have experienced something that caused their collective manifestation. Reed describes how during his visit with the composer Morton Feldman, the then Dean at the school, de Kooning could only say that not knowing what they were meant to do was the cause of that break. The state of the world and their community during the late ’40s shook artists then, leaving them to wander the streets of New York City one summer, in August to be exact, questioning what exactly they were meant to do. Reed recalls the specificity with which de Kooning narrated this confusing time. However, it was only in retrospect that he knew the importance of that moment. That the situation of the unknown presented endless possibilities. It was then that they looked to create, to shed preconceived notions of what was expected of them and to open the door to endless possibilities of production, aesthetics, and meaning.
Summer of Possibilities is an homage to that one summer in August when artists did not know. It combines emerging and established artists who represent the work of art-making and the importance of those historical breaks that exist in their practices. But it is also a statement about the process of art-making now. The practice of working and producing boundless possible opportunities within Abstraction which comes with the continuous dedication to the work. Regardless of how that work manifests, each piece is a collection of moments that mesh and intertwine; a puzzle piece of what is known and what isn’t that then produces possibilities within the limitless.