Bruno David Gallery is showing “Allusive”, an exhibition by Chicago-based artist William Conger. Much contemporary abstract art has long centered on the literal art object and aims to exclude reference or allusion to what’s not literally present. Now, more and more, recent abstraction evokes real or imagined objects and experience not actually depicted.
In 1981, William Conger proposed the term “Allusive Abstraction” to distinguish his own work an abstraction that shared some traits with other Chicago artists, some earlier American painting (like Arthur Dove) and with Chicago Imagist artists. Art historian and critic Mary Matthews Gedo wrote about Allusive Abstraction in Arts Magazine, Art Criticism, and elsewhere in the 1980s. Some critics now use the term “Abstract Imagism” to include Allusive Abstraction.
Conger said, “Over the decades my work has remained purposely allusive and formally abstract as it has also explored many alternatives. My newer work is flatter and more evenly colored with more mixed figure-ground paradoxes than my earlier work which is layered with modulated shapes. But it still alludes to landscape and objects, even anatomy, without ever giving up the primacy of purely abstract form.”
William Conger lives and works in Chicago, IL. He earned a B.F.A. from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM in 1960 and an M.F.A. from the University of Chicago in 1966. His work has been exhibited extensively and is represented in numerous museum collections, including: The Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago IL; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Chicago IL; The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, East Lansing MI; The Indianapolis Museum of Art (Newfields), Indianapolis IN; The Wichita Art Museum, Wichita KS; Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA; The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison WI; Illinois State Museum, Springfield IL; Mary and Leigh Block Museum, Northwestern University, Evanston IL; DePaul University Art Museum, Chicago IL; Loyola University Art Museum, Chicago IL; Tarble Museum, Eastern Illinois University Art Museum, Charleston IL; The University of New Mexico Art Museum (the Jonson Collection), Albuquerque, NM. William Conger is professor emeritus of art theory and practice at Northwestern University.