ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For most of the 20th century, a Grand Canyon of a divide loomed between representationalism and abstraction.
Artists were expected to choose one side or the other; some professors at prestigious art schools even discouraged their students from creating figurative work. Many artists abandoned anything resembling realism for a formalist exploration of color, line and shape devoid of stories or feelings.
From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, a group of California artists – several of them with New Mexico connections – rebelled, refusing to take sides. The trend paralleled the anti-establishment Beatnik lifestyle developing in San Francisco.