Fanny Sanín’s New York: The Critical Decade, 1971-1981 is the first comprehensive solo exhibition to explore the artist’s evolving practice of geometric abstraction during her first decade living and working in New York City. Presenting a selection of paintings from 1971 to 1981, the exhibition engages with Sanín’s expansion of the geometric idiom during this period of vital artistic production. The objects in the exhibition will be displayed on the East and West walls of the Loeb Room and on the North wall of the Lecture Hall, juxtaposing the building’s sumptuous and historic architecture with Sanín’s abstract tableaux.
Tracing Sanín’s progression towards increasingly complex geometric and coloristic configurations: From her engagement with linear abstraction at the beginning of the 1970s, to her critical investigation of hard-edge abstraction that prompted further interrogations of style, composition, and color. By the end of the 1970s, Sanín’s intricately balanced and harmonious compositions display the acute sensitivity to color and form that define her mature practice. This critical transition was met with major career achievements: in 1976 Sanín received the International Women’s Year Award at the International Women’s Arts Festival in New York, and in 1979 she represented her native Colombia at the 15th São Paulo Biennial in Brazil.
Sanín’s style of geometric abstraction paradoxically harnesses mathematical precision and an objective sensibility to constellate deeply spiritual resonances. While she demonstrates a shared sensibility with some of her North American contemporaries such as Josef Albers, Ellsworth Kelly, Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, and Frank Stella (who similarly explored the possibilities of geometric abstraction), Sanín’s is a unique voice within this tradition. Her symmetrical compositions are the result of rigid exactitude and self-reflective studies that preclude artistic spontaneity; her degree of finish rejects traces of the artist’s hand. Sanín’s meticulous color choices also distinguish her from her contemporaries: mixing her own pigments, the artist’s matte finishes and muted palette stand in contrast to the glossy, high contrast canvases typical of this period, revealing Sanín’s remapping of conventional geometric abstraction.
Funded by ISLAA and presented as part of the Duke House Exhibition Series at The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.