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James Hilleary and The Washington Color School     Jul 6 - Aug 1, 2012


Opening Reception: Friday July 6th, 2012, 5-8 pm

In July 2012, Peyton Wright Gallery in Santa Fe showcases the Washington Color School with an exhibition of works by James Hilleary and other significant members of this pivotal modernist art movement active in Washington, DC in the late 1950s to mid 1960s.

Working largely in bold colors and abstract design, members of the group became known for the ability to reduce art to pure and elemental modernist forms. Key to this new style was the advent of acrylic paints. Washington Color School painters distinguished themselves by wholeheartedly embracing this space age medium and exhaustively investigating possibilities in the developing work. Members of this group, notably Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland, captured national attention and provided an alternative to the Abstract Expressionist school in New York City. Other influential artists associated with the group include Gene Davis, Tom Downing, Paul Reed and Howard Mehring.

Within this circle, James Hilleary is unique. An architect by profession, he pursued painting privately and individually; initially unaware that his aesthetic and compositional path was tracking in parallel with the minimalist innovations of the Washington Color School. Discovery of his work by Adelyn Breskin, Director of the Baltimore Art Museum, led to his rapid induction into the Washington Color School and subsequent affiliation with Modernist artists centered on the Jefferson Place and Henri Galleries, prominent in the Washington art scene at the time.

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