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Edna Andrade

Edna Andrade is the first book-length study of the aesthetic influences, creative development, and enduring legacy of this dynamic twentieth-century American artist, tracing her career from her early surrealist landscapes, through decades of the geometric patterns of Op Art to her late-life studies of the Atlantic coastline.

Edna Andrade

Edited by Debra Bricker Balken

2015 | 176 pages | Cloth $49.95
Fine Art
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Table of Contents

Foreword and Acknowledgments
Edna Andrade: The Means by Which A Line Comes Into Being
—Debra Bricker Balken
Between Magic and Logic: The Perceptual Art of Edna Andrade
—Joe Houston

List of Works

Excerpt [uncorrected, not for citation]

From "Edna Andrade: The Means by Which A Line Comes Into Being," by Debra Bricker Balken:

By the early 1970s, Andrade's painting had become increasingly more lyrical, her now consistently large-scale compositions with their dense patterning less overtly mechanical and hard-edged. Op Art had spent its course internationally as well as for Andrade. Rather than repeat the bold, quivering canvases of the previous decade, she turned to the mathematics of natural formations, where her colors could operate more delicately and in harmony. The lace-like web of contoured lines in paintings like Ebbtide (1976) (plate 50), Updraught (1976) (plate 52) and Night Sea (1977) (plate 55) gently quiver, their motion more subdued, less jarring and sudden. Andrade would continue to exercise increased restraint in her abstractions, her symmetries more evident, as in Temple (1986) (plate 66), with the result that illusion and trompe l'oeil effects are tempered, subject to greater control. As she discussed in a faculty self-evaluation for the Philadelphia College of Art in 1976, rigor along with a clear aesthetic plan was what teaching and art were all about. And, in her crystalline, carefully plotted patterns, this programmatic thrust was elegantly realized for almost three decades.

From "Between Magic and Logic: The Perceptual Art of Edna Andrade," by Joe Houston:

Andrade's interest in visual perception was made emphatic in the dazzling Color Motion-64 (1964) (plate 9), a singular work that portended a dramatic shift in her practice. Despite the title, the painting is composed entirely of dramatic contrasts of black and white laid out in checkerboard fashion across the square format of her canvas (any color we may experience is a perceptual anomaly). The equivalent values of the black and white squares provide the ultimate stasis between figure and ground or positive and negative forces. Gestalt psychologists, whom Andrade was reading at the time, invoked this motif as the ultimate either/or structure: either the white squares are perceived as advancing to the foreground, or they are seen as advanced to the background; the organizing mind must choose one or the other of those possibilities at any given instant, even if it teeters back and forth between those two modes. The checked pattern was also employed in experiments in depth perception, which Andrade would have likely known about. In Color Motion-64, Andrade distorts the grid incrementally using a mathematical formula to make it appear to fold along its central axis. This disturbance of two-dimensional Euclidian space may embody concepts in astrophysics regarding the warpage of space and time. She seems to invoke Einstein when she described her desire "to make a measurable statement that deals with the relative character of things . . . and through such means demonstrate the relativity of all experience."

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