Bruno David presents a group exhibition by artists from Bruno David Gallery’s roster alongside a selection of established and emerging artists across various media. Bilingual: abstract & figurative includes abstract and figurative works in order to showcase parallel theoretical and philosophical concerns. The gallery will publish a catalogue of the exhibition’s works with a text by Buzz Spector.
Visual art is almost always a translation of impressions of the physical world, on a continuum that ranges from the most realistic of figurative practices through the most abstract or nonrepresentational modes. These two endpoints are often portrayed as being in opposition. Prior to the emergence of abstract art, the illusion of visible reality had been at the core of art making practices, with artists getting ever more accurate in depicting real things--or people--in real spaces and … until modernist abstraction presented a drastic departure from realistic depictions of the physical world. Logic of perspective was replaced with a visual language of shape, form, color, and line to create compositions that could exist independently from existing things in the real world. Just as the history of figurative art was often discussed in linguistic terms, like the "vocabulary" of a painter or the "syntax" of a sculptor, so did abstraction offer symbols suitable for description as a "language."
The conventional art historical narrative of Modern Art presents a story of a contentious shift from figuration into non-objective abstract art, creating a gap between the two. Only in the latter part of the 20th century would this intellectual wound separating abstraction and figuration begin to mend, as artists emerged that embraced both. Today we can appreciate how the historical conflicts between the languages of figuration and abstraction ultimately enabled artists of the present moment to be "bilingual" in abstraction and figuration.