Artists Space

Calvert Coggeshall and Frederick Hammersley: Painting

May 21 – June 27, 1987

Abstract painting with green filling most of the space with red lines emerging from the center outward.
Calvert Coggeshall. Untitled (green, red), 1987. Oil on canvas. [Abstract painting with green filling most of the space with red lines emerging from the center outward.]

Paintings: Calvert Coggeshall and Frederick Hammersley is a show of abstract paintings and the fourth in a series of exhibitions at Artists Space presenting the work of mature artists. The series was initiated in 1983 with funds from the Mark Rothko Foundation. As the work of young and experimental artists has become increasingly welcomed into the mainstream of contemporary art, the equally challenging work of many older artists has been somewhat overlooked. This series attempts to present the work of serious artists who have been working for many years in innovative modes, outside of current trends, who have not received adequate recognition for the high quality of their work. The commitment and generosity of the Mark Rothko Foundation initiated this series over the past four years has supported Artists Space's endeavors to present this work. Coggeshall and Hammersley were selected by a committee of Artists Space Board and Staff: Richard Armstrong, Hermine Ford, Irving Sandler, Valerie Smith and Susan Wyatt.

Coggeshall and Hammersley have consistently worked in an abstract mode yet each artist has chosen a very different path of investigation. Coggeshall's paintings are quiet contemplative and reductive whereas Hammersley's are bright, extroverted and biomorphic. Among many issues that distinguish this work from current abstract art is an interest in purity over excess, a need to reduce the variables of the image, rather than load them with art historical or decorative references, Coggeshall has worked on the East coast and over his long career associated with artists such as Bradley Walker Tomlin and Jack Workov. Hammersley was part of the Abstract Classicist group in Los Angeles, whose other members included: Karl Benjamin, Loser Feitelson, and John McLaughlin. Coggeshall and Hammersley have been working in very different styles inspired by their separate environments and influences, Each of their individual visions provide a thoughtful point of comparison and explore the range of possibilities within the abstract mode.

Calvert Coggeshall's paintings are saturated with color, such as Japan blue or Japan brown. The color is applied in varying degrees of translucency which creates deep space with pure color while at the same time activating the surface.

Frederick Hammersley will show two bodies of work: one completed prior to 1982 and the second started since then. The earlier work consists of brightly colored hard-edged geometric paintings that have strong optical resonance. Since 1982 Hammersley's paintings have become smaller and the forms suggest organic shapes and images. These forms continue to be brightly colored, their juxtapositions are daring and often create an unsettling feeling. The frames are also a part of the work, meticulously made, with subtle details that suggest the South West.

Calvert Coggeshall lives and works in Newcastle, Maine. He has shown his work consistently at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York from 1951 to 1980. He has also shown his work at the Los Angeles County Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, New York and most recently at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine. He was also a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship

Frederick Hammersley lives and works in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has shown at the L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice Californial the Hoshour Gallery, Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Albuquerque Museum; the Museum of New Mexico, Sante Fe; and most recently he showed his early work at the R.C. Erpf Gallery, New York. Hammersley has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Artists Space activities are made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; New York State Council on the Arts; Institute of Museum Services; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; Art Matters, Inc., Cowles Family Charitable Trust, Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, Inc., Jerome Foundation, Leonhardt Foundation, Betty Parsons Foundation, Reed Foundation, Inc., Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., American Express Company, Consolidated Edison, Equitable Real Estate Group, Inc., General Atlantic Corporation, EXXON, R.H Macy Company, Mobil Foundation, Inc., Morgan Guaranty Trust of New York and Philip Morris, as well as numerous Friends