1960s Portal Paintings

September 9-October 29, 2016

Catalog essay by Jenni Sorkin: Download PDF


Jessica Silverman Gallery is pleased to present “1960s Portal Paintings,” a show of early works by Suzanne Blank Redstone.

In 1966, Redstone decided that, in order to bring discipline to her work, she would paint only with 90- and 45-degree angles in gray, white and primary color acrylics. “Abstract expressionism was dominant at the time. I wanted to go against my own grain, creating a rule structure that was more austere and more rational than my disposition,” explains the artist. The first of these paintings are hard-edged; in later ones, the lines become softer and more painterly. All the works are alive with three-dimensional movement, in part because they contain a portico or threshold, suggestive of a spiritual dimension. Redstone’s practice fuses a high modernist exploration of abstraction with an engagement in historic experiments of Renaissance perspective.

The “Portal” works, which were made between 1966 and 1969, are the foundation of Redstone’s artistic practice. “This discipline pulled me into a different realm,” she explains. “I come from a family of many scientists – doctors, dentists and physicists – and the structure gave me freedom.”

“Redstone’s practice,” explains Professor Jenni Sorkin in a text that accompanies the exhibition, “has developed largely abroad, and in semi-isolation, not unlike Maria Nordman (b. 1943), who is the same generation, and Jo Baer (b. 1929), the minimalist painter-turned-public artist.  The career trajectories of the twentieth century’s women artists have often been more unwieldy, and less straightforward, than their male peers, with attention arriving much later.”

Suzanne Blank Redstone (b. 1945, Orlando FL) holds a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. For the past fifty years, Redstone has maintained a rigorous artistic practice without the support of a dealer. In 2009, Redstone won a competition to create an outdoor public sculpture at the Porthcuno Telegraph Museum in Cornwall, England, and, in 2014, Redstone enjoyed her first solo exhibition, a retrospective at Dartington Hall, Devon, curated by Isabel Carlisle. Redstone lives and works in Devon, England. She is represented by Jessica Silverman Gallery.

Press: Art Agenda