Constructions: Abe Ajay

Abe Ajay: Constructions

Throughout his prolific career, Abe Ajay (1919-1998) created a stunning assortment of wall oriented relief sculptures. A self-proclaimed “unrepentant object maker”, Ajay often combined found objects, polyester resin, wood, canvas and wire into his mixed media constructions. The artist’s work often drew associations to Louise Nevelson’s sculptures. The New York Times commented that Ajay’s work is “no less idiosyncratic than Nevelson’s” and that his sculpture is “as masculine and puritanical as hers is feminine and baroque.”

There is great precision and order in these constructions. Art historian Irving Sandler suggested that the works possess a “thoughtfully conceived structure and the fine workmanship of Russian Constructivism.” The artist employed earth tone colors ranging from rust-orange to green and would apply a hard-edged linear overlay in bold cerulean blue and yellow. With their meticulous structure, contrasting textures and repeated elements, Ajay’s compositions reveal an abstract and imagined architecture influenced by Spanish and Middle Eastern culture.

Abe Ajay’s works are represented in many prestigious collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in NYC, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC.

Construction #689 , 1989