From The Village Voice:
“3 x Abstraction: New Methods of Drawing,” the unbelievably intriguing exhibition at the Drawing Center, proves that abstraction has always been more than art historians said it was. To see why, consider a question posed by artist Robert Irwin: How did art go from the hyper-realism of David to the total abstraction of Malevich in less than 100 years? As scientific knowledge increased, multiplicity replaced certainty, relativism grew, our experience of our world became more unknown and unstable, and the hierarchical way we pictured the world no longer seemed adequ ate or accurate. Single-point perspective and realism were originally devised to present a kind of double-positive: Things were rendered realistically in order to be known. This worked visual wonders for several hundred years. However, by the mid 19th century it became evident that there was a latent negative lurking in the double-positive: Things were bein g named but they weren’t being known. A hole formed in the ozone of representation. Technique was only leading to more technique, perspectival space unraveled, and representation began to feel suppressive and deficient.
A visual analog for indefiniteness and instability had to be devised. A space for intuition was needed. Ab straction was one antidote.