Abstraction as a vehicle for social and economic critique in the work of Jessica Stockholder and Helio Oiticica
Jessica Stockholder and Helio Oiticica both address social and economic issues in their practice. Operating outside any kind of utopian modernist paradigm, their work, using a playful abstract language, becomes the platform for political and social critique. This paper looks at how the work of these two artists changes the parameters and scope of abstraction in contemporary practice. Operating within different historical and geographical circumstances, both artists explore and address issues such as consumerism, poverty and collective practice, using abstraction and colour as their primary visual language. This action harks back to more utopian visions of abstraction as a vehicle for social change, echoing the ideologies of early European modernism. Their practices are reviewed as examples of politicised abstraction through the development of expanded painting.
Keywords: Jessica Stockholder, Helio Oiticica, Abstraction, Capitalism, Color, Expanded Painting, Modernism
Dr. Francesca Mataraga
PhD Candidate, School of Art