Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Gene Davis: Playing by eye

As jazz musicians play by ear, Gene Davis described his painting approach as “playing by eye”. Hailing from Washington, DC, he was a prime figure of 20th century American painting, especially the Washington Color School. Davis’ heavily striped paintings, though seemingly carefully calculated, spring from his spontaneity. 

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Before becoming a full-time artist, Davis took abstract painting as a hobby and even had his early works featured in some local exhibits. After he ended his career as a sportswriter and a White House correspondent, he did the outrageous and the unexpected: make a livelihood out of painting. Following his 35 years working as a journalist, he transitioned on to become a full-time painter.

Having a passion for the arts without the benefit of formal education gave him the freedom to explore different movements until he found his own style. His play with color and stripes takes after the works of notable artists in the mold of American abstractionist Arshile Gorky and Swiss painter Paul Klee. He described his discovery of Barnett Newman as “only taking what I needed,” as he was attracted to the vertical stripes and not the color fields, which were in reality Newman’s emphasis.

Although Davis did not attend art school, he did not perceive it as a disadvantage. He instead believed it freed him from the traditional art school’s orientation. Formed differently from those who attended art school, he fearlessly explored different media to complement his paintings, using different surfaces and incorporating objects into his composition. 

Gene Davis was an art renegade overflowing with spontaneity. He found rhythm in painting his stripes; following them was him playing by eye. 

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Mark Borghi Fine Art is a leading art gallery that features Post-War American, Contemporary, and European Modern art. Their gallery in Bridgehampton, NY featured Gene Davis and work last June of 2016. For updates on upcoming exhibits, click here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Instrumental Women in the Field of Abstract Expressionism

Abstract Expressionism, like most art movement, was largely defined by its poster boys, namely, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning, and Philip Guston. However, history should never forget that several women also played an important role in lifting ab-ex to what it is today.

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Here are some of the notable women abstract expressionists:
Helen Frankenthaler
Studying under Hans Hoffman and debuting under one of Adolph Gottlieb’s group show in 1950, the well-connected Helen Frankenthaler developed her own painting method in which she mixed thinned house paint and enamel from coffee cans, then directly poured it onto a canvas. The revolutionary staining technique inspired a movement that eventually became known as “color field” painting.
Joan Mitchell
In 1951, the landmark 9th Street Art Exhibition helped propel abstract expressionism to mainstream consciousness. One of the few women who was included in the show was Joan Mitchell. She would go on to have a successful “career” in painting and printmaking. As recognition of her contribution to the field, she was awarded the first College Art Association’s Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Mary Abbott
Starting as a model for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Mary Abbott studied at New York’s Art Student League in the early 1940s. She helped promote abstract expressionism in the late 1950s when she collaborated with poet Barbara Guest to create poetry paintings, where Guest would recite a phrase and Abbott would paint an artwork out of it, and vice versa.

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Last December 2016, Mark Borghi Fine Art featured the traveling exhibit Beyond Secretary, paying tribute to the feminine powers that are often suppressed in society. Visit this website for more information about the leading art gallery.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Body As Medium, Sexual Equality, And More: Key Concepts In Feminist Art

The feminist art movement rose in the late 1960s amid anti-war demonstrations and civil and queer rights movements. Its main goal is to rewrite a falsely male-oriented art history, as well as offer a feminist voice in the art establishment and daily social interactions.


Prior to the movement, the majority of female artists were invisible to the public eye, with the art world largely deemed a boy’s club. Here are some key ideas and concepts in this sphere that also embraced alternative materials connected to the female gender and veered away from traditional means of expression.

Multi-disciplinary approach: No singular style or medium brings feminist artists together, as their work is often a combination of body art, conceptual art, video art, and performance art, to name a few. Performance kept things on a highly personal level, with no separation between the artist and her work.

Body as medium: These artists convey a deeply intimate experience in a visceral way, distorting images of their bodies, performing self-mutilation, and inducing shock in different ways. Blood has been a crucial symbol of life, fertility, and women’s bodies for many feminist artists.

De-objectification: An important message is to crush sexism and oppression, as well as the portrayal of women as merely beautiful objects to behold.

Image source:Rutgers University 

Gender performance: Artists such as Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Carolee Schneemann, and Yoko Ono shared gender-specific experiences with their audiences, influencing a rethinking of traditional female stereotypes and invoking empathy for the female condition.

Mark Borghi Fine Art is a renowned art gallery located in New York, NY, and has expanded to two other locations, in Bridgehampton, NY and Palm Spring, FL, since it opened in 1998. In 2016, it presented ‘Beyond Secretary,’ which showcased artworks exhibiting various expression of feminine power. For more on its past and ongoing exhibitions, visit this website.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Matter Of Legacy:The Life Of Mercedes Matter

In 1913, American modernist painter Arthur Carles and Edward Steichen model Mercedes de Cordoba became parents to Mercedes Carles. Little Mercedes followed in the footsteps of her father.She started painting under the guidance of her father when she was six years old. And while growing up, she studied art and art history under notable artists such as sculptor Lu Duble, Maurice Sterne, Alexander Archipenko, and Has Hofmann.


Early on, she was exposed to a diverse background in the arts, learning modernism and abstract expressionism. And during her late 20s, she became an original member of the American Abstract Artists.

It was also during that time that she met her husband Herbert Matter, a Swiss graphic designer and photographer. The couple would play an important role in the emergence of the New York art scene, together with their close friends, which included Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and Willem de Kooning.

While Mercedes Matter created various works of art, what helped established her legacy in the art world was her career as an art teacher. She had taught at various universities and institutions before establishing the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture in 1964.The year prior, she lamented in an ARTnews article the phasing out of extended studio needed to initiate “that painfully slow education of the sense.”


Persuaded by her students, she formed the New York Studio School, which granted no degrees but held studio classes and encouraged students to emphasize drawing from life.Up to now, the school in Greenwich Village continues to train emerging artists.

Earlier this year, Mark Borghi Fine Art presented the MERCEDES MATTER: A Survey: Paintings & Drawings from 1929 to 1998. The exhibition showcased the outstanding breath of work that Matter completed during her seven-decade career. For more gallery updates, visit this website.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Receiving End: Interpreting And Appreciating Abstract Art

For those who are unacquainted with the different schools of visual art, looking at abstract paintings can be a confusing activity. The lines and splashes of color can be meaningless without knowing the artwork’s context. Whether it’s meaningless or meaningful to the receiver’s eye, is there really a right way to interpret and appreciate abstract art?


To understand abstract expressionist art, perhaps it would be good for a viewer to have a little knowledge about the artist and the artwork’s context. Knowing the era, the school of thought and even the style can help people appreciate the visuals they see. Some minds will accept a new experience if some background is provided. Even if abstract artists like Jackson Pollock agree that their art can create different meanings, it is important for a viewer to understand what they’re looking at so they can self-assuredly process the emotions, movement, and mentality that pervades a piece.

Abstract expressionist art warrants a viewer’s attention. Unlike works from other movements, a piece requires an individual to process each stroke, splash, or shape deliberately. This, as artists intended, is a reaction to the prevailing mindset of consumerism and commercialism during their time. While contemporary artworks are quickly produced and appreciated, Expressionists wanted to make art “from their bodies,” placing a value on their emotions and thought processes compared to mass-produced works.


When looking at abstract art, it is alright to feel intimidated and unsettled. However, these feelings shouldn’t hinder a person from enjoying the art. These impressions contribute to the artwork’s meaning. In this sense, the receiver is very much a part of the work.

Mark Borghi is the owner of art galleries located in New York, NY, Bridgehampton, NY, and Palm Springs, FL. The galleries regularly feature traveling exhibits and American Contemporary art. Visit this page for updates on the exhibits featured in the galleries.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Bold And Vibrant: Pop Art And The Post-War Society

Life after the war changed people dramatically. Affluence became the goal of the average citizen and consumerism became a lifestyle. The post-war manufacturing and media boom gave way to brands and icons that people associate with their daily needs. The changes in society blurred the distinction between classes, a phenomenon demonstrated in the art of that time.

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The traumatized society was keen on finding enjoyment in simple pleasures. Enjoying “high” art that was abstract and serious didn’t seem to be what the public was looking for. Though critics praised it, the movement failed to influence majority of the audiences. Some artists also felt alienated from this movement and went on to create straightforward and accessible art. With this came artworks done in the style of commercial billboards and comics, which were quickly accepted by the masses.

In a recovering society, art doesn’t need to be complicated. The message can be communicated by showing what is familiar. The famous works of Lichtenstein and Warhol became iconic because they lifted mundane parts of a person’s daily life and showed these in a new light. Perhaps the commonality of these works was the same aspect that made people understand their new experience.

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To this day, many still enjoy Pop art. Accessible and easily reproduced, the original artworks have taken on different forms. From prints to clothing, these works have shown that good art is also for the enjoyment of the masses.

Mark Borghi Fine Art showcases an extensive collection of work from Post-War American, Contemporary, and European Modern artists. For more information, visit this page.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Life And Times Of Jackson Pollock

Any art enthusiast knows Jackson Pollock’s name is synonymous with abstract expressionism, though he is most famous for his unique method, commonly referred to as drip painting. He was as controversial as he was famous (as like many famous artists). Pollock was a recluse, known for his temper and penchant for drink.

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In 1945, Pollock married Lee Krasner, a fellow artist. She proved to be very significant in Pollock’s life story as Krasner became a major influence on his career, and his legacy. In fact, a huge number of art experts and historians debate on who ended up influencing who in their marriage. A number of art experts opined that Krasner copied and repurposed Pollock’s chaotic pieces, and branded them her own. In fact, it was often observed by members of the art community that Krasner had a problem separating her own work from her husband’s.

Jackson Pollock died from a car-crash that resulted from drunk driving in 1956. He was only 44 years old. His works, though, were quickly recognized as they were exhibited in the Musuem of Modern Art a few months after his burial. Eleven years later, in 1967, the Museum of Modern Art held a bigger Jackson Pollock exhibit. Decades later, in 1998, his works were shown once again in the Museum of Modern Art, and at London’s The Tate in 1999.

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Mark Borghi Fine Art was founded in New York City in 1998. Borghi opened two more galleries – one is Bridgehampton, New York, in 2004, and another in Palm Springs, Florida, in 2011. Check out this Twitter page for exhibit updates and artist writeups.