Kianja Strobert: Of this Day in Time

The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, United States
13 Nov 2014 - 08 Mar 2015

Kianja Strobert: Of this Day in Time

Kianja Strobert Untitled, 2011 Mixed media on paper 50 × 38 in. Collection of Michael Black, courtesy: Studio Museum Harlem

The Studio Museum in Harlem presents the exhibition Kianja Strobert: Of this Day in Time. Through her exploration of acrylic, ink and other materials, Kianja Strobert (b. 1980) has emerged as an innovative voice in contemporary abstraction. Kianja Strobert: Of this Day in Time is the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in New York, presenting a selection of paintings and drawings made over the last five years.

Employing a gestural vocabulary of banded brushstrokes, swaths, whorls and zips, Strobert’s compositions convey a sense of movement that keeps the eye in constant motion. The earliest works on view, from 2010, reveal Strobert’s interest in closing the gap between the artist and the painted mark. In 2011, Strobert conveys the presence of the body through messy smudges and drips that are applied directly by hand and since 2012, experiments more closely with the effects of paint mixed with other materials. These paintings, created in multiple small-scale series, allow for repeated, methodical experimentations with specific color fields and patterns, shifting away from grand, monumental notions of mid-century abstraction that emphasized the artist’s gestural expression in relation to universal themes. Strobert’s most recent works on paper depict vertical forms with hard, linear edges that intersect with bands of paint that radiate outward from various points. These formal configurations, traced from torn pieces of paper, invite any number of open-ended associations from the viewer. Many of Strobert’s paintings and drawings are inspired by abstract painter Alma Thomas, whom Strobert cites as an influence.

Strobert’s painting is rooted in what the older artist called a “day in time,” or a commitment to the artistic practices of the present. Contemporary exhibitions have posited abstract painting as a continuous dialogue, whether between artists and historical traditions of abstraction, or among artists of current and prior generations. Throughout its history, The Studio Museum in Harlem has examined the intersections of abstract art and subjectivity in exhibitions such as Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction 1964-1980 (2006). As the most recent addition to this lineage, Kianja Strobert: Of this Day in Time presents an artist whose unique consideration of universal human emotions provides a fresh take on the legacy of twentieth century abstraction.

Kianja Strobert: Of this Day in Time is organized by Naima J. Keith, Assistant Curator.


Born in 1980, Kianja Strobert received her MFA from the Yale University School of Art in 2006 and her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004. Her work has been included in museum exhibitions such as Fore (2012) and 30 Seconds off an Inch (2009) at The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Outside the Lines: Black in the Abstract, Part 1: Epistrophy at The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in 2013. Strobert has had a solo exhibition, Nothing to Do but Keep Going, at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, California in 2012 and oneperson gallery exhibitions at Tilton Gallery and Zach Feuer Gallery, both in New York. She lives and works in Hudson, New York.




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