For abstract painters, such as Louise Fishman and Robert Motherwell, the action of creating a brushstroke itself has a singular importance, reinforcing their individuality. Often referred to as “gestural,” these works track the movements of the artists’ hand, arms, and even bodies in the creation of imagery that favors invisible concerns such as emotion, spirituality, and the metaphysics of existence. At the same time, there have been artists who seek to downplay or eliminate all traces of their own gestures—Ellsworth Kelly and Deborah Remington—to others utilizing techniques that involve pouring, dripping, or splashing pigment onto their canvases—notably Helen Frankenthaler and Pat Steir. Taken together, these Hood Museum collection favorites suggest the continued vitality of painting and abstraction.
John R. Stomberg Ph.D