The online editorial and curatorial project for systems, non-objective and reductive artists working in the UK

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The AbEx phenomenon that exploded in the US in the 1940s and 50s, and still resonates with such vital force today, brought abstracted beauty into the public consciousness like a lightning bolt. It was new, vibrant and deeply emotional, and eschewed the shadows and constrictions of World War II.

British abstraction of the time seemed tame in comparison. With the pull of the landscape tethering it to the previous decades, it remained generally unknown outside the cognoscenti of the St Ives School.

James Bartos takes the reader on a journey through the historical landscape of modernism to the far reaches of geometric abstraction in British art.

His deep-rooted knowledge of the history of British abstraction and its place in the wider European and U.S context is superbly captured in his survey of movements including Russian constructivism through to American minimalism.

Equally enlightening is his erudite review of the history of British geometric abstract art and his amusing views on the current contemporary art scene.

But perhaps the most rewarding part of this book is Bartos’s very personal review of the six British artists whose work he both admires and collects. Through a series of interviews with the artists and their gallerists, Bartos allows each to offer insights into their work and its historical context, its influences and its aspirations.

I share an affinity with Bartos in that I also admire many of the artists featured in this work and cannot recommend it highly enough. A work of understated beauty.

Quiet is the new loud.

Vincent Ball