Retrospective follows Sam Francis’ color evolution

Galaxies of color. Organic, graphic and cellular forms. Image-defining, contemplative white space.

Pasadena Museum of California Art is celebrating the work of pre-eminent 20th century abstract artist Sam Francis, known for his eloquent use of color and light. This new retrospective, “Sam Francis: Five Decades of Abstract Expressionism from California Collections,” is now open and on view through Jan. 5.

Guest-curated by Debra Burchett-Lere, director of the Sam Francis Foundation, and by noted art historian Peter Selz, the PMCA exhibition samples 50 years of works that define Francis’ ever-evolving and intense engagement with his art.

Canvases reveal quiet cloud-like grays, bold, insistent hues and fluid “angel trails” of color. Floating organic structures contrast with an exuberance of angled grids. In one series, saturated colors migrate to the very edges of the canvas, framing striking expanses of white. Throughout these varied works, Francis’ considered use of white space, large and small, serves, too, as

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