Abstract LA is an auction of works by some of LA’s emerging and established abstractionists, documenting the expansion and redefinition of the painterly approach–in abstract expressionism, geometrical and color field painting–to include works on canvas, clay and photography. The auction was curated by Justin Izbinski and ArtBlitz LA had the opportunity to speak with him about the process.
How did the idea for this auction come about? Why abstraction as a focus?
To be honest, I really did not have a clear idea of what my auction theme was going to be until I started doing studio visits. A lot of the artists I visited turned me on to other artists, and by chance, they were all working in different modes of abstraction. New spins on an old canon. I definitely believe that the landscape of Los Angeles lends itself to abstraction. The quote, “There is no there there”, seems apt in the most positive sense.
In the process of curating the auction did you find that certain elements, trends, qualities emerged as being unique to LA abstract artists?
I definitely believe that Los Angeles-based artists have a great sense and use of color. If you look at the auction, there is a wide range of colors, which I really love, but it is mostly bright and (I know how cheesy this sounds) cheerful! Testing and expanding the limits of the surface definitely seems to be a trend.
Any favorite moments from putting the auction together?
Meeting and speaking with all of the artists involved about their work was definitely the highlight. Doing studio visits is my favorite part of the job; they are a mystical place. Also meeting my deadline, as I was filled with a sense of completion and an auction that I could really stand behind.
Favorite works? Are you allowed to tell us?
Funny enough, that seems to be the one question that everyone keeps asking and I come up with the same answer: they are like your children, you can’t choose favorites!
Much of this work has distinct texture to it when you see it in person. How do you feel about the challenges related to showing work online?
You are completely correct, most of the works involved do have a distinct texture in person, and obviously with everything taking place online, that is a hurdle we have to overcome, but by having specialists in New York and Los Angeles who are readily available to speak about the works, it definitely helps collectors who are on the fence. In the past, we have done previews, and it is definitely something that we would like to do more of in the future.
What are some of your favorite aspects of living, working and seeing art in LA?
Some people see this as a hindrance, but traversing the landscape of Los Angeles is fun to me! I am a native Angeleno and I still find new things to discover.
Must see shows for the summer?
It hasn’t opened yet, but I am really looking forward to the John Altoon exhibition at LACMA, as well Michael Rey’s exhibition at Cherry and Martin that opens in July!