Representing the Abstract 

Abstract modern art has, since its inception in the early twentieth century, flummoxed and infuriated as many viewers as it has pleased. By mid-century, when art's bullet train had arrived at one of its most distant platforms, Abstract Expressionism, even more riders felt like disembarking. "What is the subject of that?! It's just random colors and weird shapes," was -- maybe still is -- the outraged statement du jour. But rather than recognizable figures and terrain, the subject was that old standby: beauty, distilled down to its starkest essence. A new exhibit by painter John Zinsser at the Philip Slein Gallery (4735 McPherson Avenue; 314-361-2617 or www.philipsleingallery.com), Extension of Thought, works within these still-bold Abstract Expressionist parameters, while Zinsser's co-exhibitor Jeff Aeling traffics in that school's antithesis. Aeling paints grand, ravishing landscapes of the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Abstraction and representation coexist in this joint show, which opens with a free reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, September 12. Their work remains on display through Saturday, October 11, and the gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Starts: Sept. 13. Continues through Oct. 11, 2014

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