Concise. Decisive. Refined. Self-contained. These are all apt descriptors of Ann Pibal’s modestly sized paintings on aluminum. Lately, though, Pibal has allowed her pristine surfaces to be invaded by shockingly expressive brushstrokes that seem to only reaffirm the level of control she manages over her paintings.
Pibal draws on the long lineage of abstract painting from the reductive forms of Minimalism to the gestural nature of Abstract Expressionism to the present day practices of peers like Tomma Abts.¹ But as art historian Robert Storr asserts, Pibal is not dependent on her precedents any more than she is on the stylish currents of today. In fact, one could argue that her strength lies in the refusal to associate with any one group or movement. For instance, despite her overt reference of and homage to Barnett Newman’s room-scaled ‘zips,’ large colorfield paintings with single stripes of paint that bisect their surface, she resolutely contests that specific and male-dominated Abstract Expressionist heritage by scaling down and reining in her paintings.
¹ See Robert Storr, “Dense Pack” in Ann Pibal (exhibition catalog), Meulensteen Gallery, New York, September 8 – October 8 2011.
Ann Pibal, DRFP, 2011
acrylic on aluminum
17 1/4 x 14 inches
Courtesy of Private Collection, Boston, MA
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
51 Sandy Pond Road
Lincoln, MA 01773