Texas Abstract: Modern + Contemporary by Michael Paglia and Jim Edwards
Distributed by the University of New Mexico Press
The appearance of abstraction in Texas in the 1930s and the development of its various currents into
the 1960s, and its continued relevance in present day contemporary art, is the expansive topic of
Texas Abstract: Modern + Contemporary. This effort represents an unprecedented attempt to reconcile the historic mid 20th century abstraction in Texas with the vibrant contemporary abstract scene flourishing now in the early 21st. The book documents through scores of examples the fact that Texas has played an unexpected role in both the history of abstraction, and in its present place in the contemporary art world.
The first section of the book focuses on the appearance of abstract painting in Texas divided between four stylistic phases: Cubist-related Abstraction, Abstract Surrealism, Abstraction and Abstract Expressionism. One key revelation of this initial section is that in the case of Abstract Surrealism, the work of artists active in the late 1930s to the early 1950s in Texas, in particular, in Houston, was as advanced stylistically as any abstract painting being done anywhere in America at that time. The importance of these historic artists has only recently been recognized as a product of the increasing scholarly interest in the subject in Texas and beyond.
The second section of the book examines the contemporary work of nearly three dozen of the state’s most significant contemporary abstractionists, including Froelick Gallery artist Terrell James.