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After beginning his career with gestural paintings in the vein of Abstract Expressionism, Al Loving switched gears with his 1969 solo show at the Whitney Museum — the museum’s first solo show by an African American artist — showcasing the hard-edged, geometric minimalism he would become well known for. In the decades that followed, Loving explored new directions, creating more organic abstractions from torn and sewn pieces of canvas, trading in a restrained formalism for an unbounded, exuberant aesthetic. Spiral Play: Loving in the ’80s at Art + Practice features 12 three-dimensional collages created from rag paper, some quite large, that draw on diverse influences, from free jazz to the African American quilting tradition. (Loving’s mother and grandmother were both quilters, and he would sit at their feet as a child while they worked.)

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Al Loving, Humbird, 1989, mixed media on board, 72” x 100”. Courtesy the Estate of Al Loving and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York.

Al Loving, Humbird, 1989, mixed media on board, 72” x 100”. Courtesy the Estate of Al Loving and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York.

Al Loving, Humbird, 1989, mixed media on board, 72” x 100”. Courtesy the Estate of Al Loving and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York.

Al Loving, Humbird, 1989, mixed media on board, 72” x 100”. Courtesy the Estate of Al Loving and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York.

After beginning his career with gestural paintings in the vein of Abstract Expressionism, Al Loving switched gears with his 1969 solo show at the Whitney Museum — the museum’s first solo show by an African American artist — showcasing the hard-edged, geometric minimalism he would become well known for. In the decades that followed, Loving explored new directions, creating more organic abstractions from torn and sewn pieces of canvas, trading in a restrained formalism for an unbounded, exuberant aesthetic. Spiral Play: Loving in the ’80s at Art + Practice features 12 three-dimensional collages created from rag paper, some quite large, that draw on diverse influences, from free jazz to the African American quilting tradition. (Loving’s mother and grandmother were both quilters, and he would sit at their feet as a child while they worked.)

Read the full article here.