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"Blue and Red Abstraction" by Gertrude Barrer, Amer., (1921-1997)
Gouache and Ink, 1950, 7-3/4 x 10 , signed and dated in ink, on textured cream J Whatman Hand Made watermarked paper, a few tiny stray marks of paint in the large margins. Gertrude Barrer was a member of the group of painters in New York in the mid to late 1940s including Steve Wheeler, Ruth Lewin, Peter Busa Howard Daum and others who came to be know as the "Indian Space" painters. The name derives from their embrace of the flattened space, conventionalized form and equality between positive and negative space as design elements, all absorbed from study of Native American sources and art of the Northwest Coast instead of that of Europe. Will Barnet, whom Barrer studied with at the Art Student's League, embraced these ideas in both his teaching and his own explorations of abstraction. As Barrer matured, she personalized, then transcended Indian Space concerns for all-over patterning and ambiguity between positive and negative space; infusing her hybrid imagery with elements of organic and man made structure, and monumental and mythic themes. This is a classic image from 1950 which though small in format reveals Barrer's characteristic structures, suggesting an epic scale.