Friedel Dzubas: Thesis / Antithesis / Synthesis

Installation view, Epic Abstraction: Friedel Dzubas in the 1970s at Loretta Howa
Installation view, Epic Abstraction: Friedel Dzubas in the 1970s at Loretta Howard Gallery

Piri Halasz reviews two exhibitions: Friedel Dzubas: Paintings of the 1960s at The Elkon Gallery (through May 29) and Epic Abstraction: Friedel Dzubas in the 1970s at Loretta Howard Gallery (closed).

Halasz writes; "For most artists, a 'late style' comes as the final fillip. With Friedel Dzubas, it represents the third stage of an evolution that may be viewed in terms of Hegelian dialectics. The first stage, or thesis, is the Dzubas style of the 1950s, marked by the energy and dynamism common to so many gestural abstractionists of that period. The antithesis comes along in the 1960s, when — in the words of Barbara Rose — Dzubas 'cleaned up and emptied out his canvases.' Instead of many active small shapes, the artist focused on a just a few, large and superbly calm ones. The final stage, or synthesis, occurred in the 1970s, and lasted right through to Dzubas’s death in 1994. The dynamism of the 1950s combined with the detachment of the 1960s in Olympian canvases of increasing scale distinguished by the artist’s unique stylistic device, a feathery spectrum of color."