Machine Learning Prequel, Curated by Matthew Deleget, Boyden Gallery, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s City, MD

September 2007 – January 2010
[on long term view]

St. Mary’s College of Maryland has a remarkable art collection. I first learned this when I visited the college last spring to finalize details for Machine Learning, an exhibition I planned to curate at Boyden Gallery in the fall. The college’s collection was built in a unique way with a kind of do-it-yourself spirit. The collection was mainly formed through the maverick efforts of its faculty, who quite literally drove a truck up to places like to New York City, loaded it up with art purchased from artists’ studios and sympathetic galleries, and brought it back to the college. The faculty’s aspiration in all of this was to create a teaching collection.

In that spirit, I’ve selected a group of works from the collection to be displayed in the corridor outside the gallery. This selection functions as a kind of prequel or point of entry into the exhibition inside the gallery, Machine Learning, which explores new pattern painting in the information age. Pattern painting, like all art forms, has a lengthy and provocative history, and the corridor gallery is filled with a select, yet diverse group of precedent works by nearly twenty artists made during the past sixty years.

On view are excellent examples of Op, Pattern, Hard-Edge, Color Field, Minimal, and Post-Painterly Abstraction. Personal highlights for me include works by Thomas Hart Benton (Jackson Pollock’s teacher), Victor Vasarely, Sam Gilliam, and James Carroll. I also included many compelling works by artists who are utterly new to me and whose names and work should be more widely known.

I would like to thank Boyden Gallery Director Catherine Dunn and Professor Carrie Patterson for their collaborative spirit in putting this spontaneous exhibition together.