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Graphic Eloquence

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William Baziotes (American, 1912 – 1963), untitled (abstraction), 1945. Ink and watercolor, 11 9/16 × 14 1/16 inches. Promised gift of Michael T. Ricker.

The exhibition “Graphic Eloquence: American Modernism on Paper from the Collection of Michael T. Ricker” is on view at the museum through September 4, but what, exactly, is “modernism”? The Armory Show of 1913, which opened in New York, is generally accepted as the starting point of American modernism. Although European artists received the majority of attention and exhibition space in the gallery compared to American artists, its influence was wide reaching, and artists who saw the show soon began experimenting with abstract form and new subject matter in response.

The works in this show are mostly prints and drawings, but they show a huge range of approaches to making images. Some artists used old techniques, like etching. Other ways of making prints were brand-new, like the carborundum process that artists in Philadelphia developed to create rough surfaces that held a lot of ink and resulted in shadowy images. “Graphic Eloquence” includes a wide range of these techniques of making art on paper to tell a story of American modernism through media that were more accessible to artists and collectors and perhaps more accommodating of experimentation.

Cathy joined WUGA in 2017 as Business Manager. She comes from South Carolina Public Radio with over a decade experience, having worked as production manager for multiple national programs, host of a daily program and traffic manager for a statewide radio network.