According the Dunlop Gallery’s press material for this exhibition the title recalls a series of four large-scale paintings that American artist Barnett Newman did between 1966-69 titled Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue? Newman’s work, in turn, contained a sly reference to Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? which itself riffed on the song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” from Disney’s animated film Little Red Riding Hood.
In doing a bit of research myself, I found the exact exhibition title mentioned in a 1997 review in Artforum International by critic Daniel Birnbaum of a show in Stockholm, Sweden called Painting — The Extended Field. Regardless, the focus is definitely on abstract art which has a pretty specific pedigree tied to masculinity and a preference for larger scale works with rigid lines, flat surfaces and hard edges.
That tradition is certainly acknowledged by Dunlop director/curator Jennifer Matotek in this exhibition, but the 11 artists that are featured, including Marie Lannoo, Daniel Borins, Sarah Nasby and Arabella Campbell, are interested in a more open dialogue around abstraction that offers a bit more humour, emotion and engagement with everyday life.
There’s an opening reception for Who’s Afraid of Purple, Orange & Green? tonight at 7 p.m. at Central Library. It will be preceded by an artist talk by Jessica Eaton at 6 p.m. The exhibition runs until June 20. And the work pictured at the top of the post, by the way, is by an artist named Luce Meunier and is called Circuit #3. It’s made of acrylic on folded cotton canvas.