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Abstractions

April 03, 1988

William Wilson's article on the retrograde figurative art of four California artists could have been written at any other time in the past 80 years ("Shock of the Old," March 27).

Since the emergence of abstract art there have been packs of staunch anti-Modernists bent on turning back the clock to the pre-Modernist past. In fact, most of the paintings in today's galleries are figurative--usually Expressionist but sometimes Classicist.

It is unfortunate then that Wilson should find it necessary to parade the provincial offerings of these particular artists.

Nearly all of the significant art of this century has been characterized by a commitment to the ongoing project of developing the possibilities of abstraction. The best art produced this decade has quietly continued this project and there is little to indicate that the 1990s and 21st Century will be any different.

Great abstract art refused to pander to its audience through outmoded artistic techniques or banal sentimental cliches. It is we the viewers who must be receptive and rise to the unique challenges it provides.

MAX ESTENGER

San Diego

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