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Al Loving
"The Banicor" Mixed Media, African-American, Abstract, Free Floating, Colorful

1980s

$68,000

About

"The Banicor" is an exuberant lively piece full of intense color with a subtle coating of sparkles that catch the light in various ways and enhances the vibrant painted surface. It hangs free and explodes into lively movement against the wall. Al Loving's swirl motif can be seen within the body of the piece. This work of art was created with large section of corrugated cardboard hand painted with a dash of glitter. A custom made Lucite cut-out backing has been made with the cardboard hand sewn to the the Lucite in such a manner to make it removable without damage. It has been completely restored with great care by Kenneth Katz, Fellow of the I.I.C. Alvin Demar Loving, Jr. better known as Al Loving, was an African-American abstract expressionist painter from Detroit, Michigan. His work is known for hard-edge abstraction, fabric constructions, and large paper collages, all exploring complicated color relationships. This is an example of the abstract expressionist piece that soon dominated his art. This piece does not have conventional matting under it, glass to cover it or frames to surround it: instead it clings flatly to the wall. Sandra Yolles, reviewing an exhibition in 1990, explained "Loving’s work is about earth, wind, fire, and water: some pieces might be considered atmospheric maps of life at full blast—stretching the possibilities of the human spirit by delineating its directions, currents, and eddies.'” In the 1960s, Loving grew increasingly interested in Josef Albers's paintings of squares within squares. In an interview, he explained: "For me at the time, it was about painting the square until it was 'enough,' and that meant until it obtained form. The square that I started with would always be gone; only I knew it was a square, that reference was there. That freed me to just paint and let things evolve. The square was pure energy and focus.” These geometric abstractions conveyed the brilliance of refracted light; they were not just experiments in color. Loving would often make polyhedrons of the same size, with different colors, and hang them together in different arrangements on the wall. The result was sometimes dozens of canvases stretching out over several feet; to view an entire composition would take time, more than just a glance, making his paintings a powerful expression of time, too. Loving's geometric paintings were featured in his first solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Loving later abandoned hard-edged abstraction painting. After completing his MFA at the University of Michigan in 1968 Loving moved to New York City to the infamous Chelsea Hotel that was the home of numerous artists, writers and musicians. Within a year he had his Whitney Solo Exhibition, the first one for an African American artist. In the 1980s, Loving began to integrate other materials into his constructions, such as corrugated cardboard and rag paper. Loving quickly took a liking to the casualness of tearing cardboard and gluing it onto other pieces; in fact, he considered this practice abstract expressionist as well. The large paper collages gave him a sense of freedom because he was trekking through uncharted territory (although this work has been likened to Frank Stella's curvilinear metal reliefs and Elizabeth Murray's shaped canvases). Loving integrated circles and spirals into these collages as a nod to his African roots and as an expression of growth and continued life. In the piece Perpetual Motion (1994) (DASNY) Loving integrated materials such as cardboard and print. The cardboard is cut and overlapped to form a series of spirals. Each spiral has been carefully painted and placed to create dynamic color relationships. They do not have conventional matting under them, glass to cover them or frames to surround them: instead they cling flatly to the wall. Sandra Yolles, reviewing an exhibition in 1990, explained "Loving’s work is about earth, wind, fire, and water: some pieces might be considered atmospheric maps of life at full blast—stretching the possibilities of the human spirit by delineating its directions, currents, and eddies.'” Loving received National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in 1970, 1974, and 1984 and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1986. Loving created large-scale commissioned public works throughout his career for The First National Bank Building in Detroit, MI, for the Empire State Collection in Albany, NY, a ceramic mural in one of Detroit's People Mover stations, and another in the Library at Wayne State University. In 1996, he created a collage painting Sacramento New Morning for the Sacramento Convention Center, and in 2001 he designed 70 stained-glass windows and mosaic walls for the Broadway Junction subway in Brooklyn.

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    Ships From: Detroit, MI
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About the Artist

Al Loving

An innovative artist of abstraction who found inspiration in the hard-edge style of Minimalism as well as in the free-form creation of traditional quilt making, Al Loving was the first African American to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Loving was inspired to pursue art at an early age, captivated by the work of his father who had studied art and made his living as a sign painter and the quilting done by his mother and grandmother. He earned a BFA from the University of Illinois and an MFA from the University of Michigan.

Loving moved to New York in 1968, where his art, with its striking hexagonal and cubic shapes conveying a sense of spatial illusion, soon caught the attention of the art world. Just a year later, the Whitney Museum opened its exhibition of his paintings featuring geometric forms influenced by Abstract Expressionists like Hans Hofmann, who had taught Al Mullen, Loving's mentor in Michigan.

By the 1970s, Loving shifted to a new approach, experimenting with torn canvas and collage for kaleidoscopic patterns. Spiraling motifs laced over the layers of color, which the artist had joined together through strips of cardboard and canvas, blurring the line between painting and sculpture. In 1974, critic Peter Schjeldahl wrote in the New York Times that Loving’s pieces “energize the space around them” and appear to be “caught in the act of moving across the wall.”

Loving explained that he used abstraction “to speak directly to the art” and examine the changes in painting sparked by modernism, where “passion and feelings became real. The subject matter became less important than the art itself.” Loving was a longtime educator, and his legacy extends to the students he taught at the City College of New York from 1988 to 1996. He exhibited widely in his lifetime, with solo shows at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Neuberger Museum of Art. His work is also in the collections of leading museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney and the National Gallery of Art.

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About the Seller
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Located in Detroit, MI
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