Abe Ajay 1919–1998
As an artist who challenged the boundaries of mid-century modernism, Abe Ajay employed various tenets of hard-edge painting, ready-made objects, and assemblage, resulting in a precise, clean-cut and intricate art form resembling that of both sculpture and painting. Within his artwork resonates temperaments of vitality, invention, harmony, rhythm and balance. Ajay’s first solo exhibition was held in 1964 at the Rose Fried Gallery, New York, a well-known venue for supporting and introducing modernism into the American art market. It was after this debut that Ajay began seriously seeking an artistic transition which would introduce elements of painting, architecture, and sculpture into his practice. He incorporated a variety of found objects into his works, including cigar molds, knobs, dowels, geometric blocks, and transparent paper, and each combination of these elements served as a continuation of the unexpected and experience of perpetual surprise. Ten additional one-man exhibitions followed in Ajay’s career, as well as continuous coverage in art publications including Art in America, Arts Magazine and The New York Times.
His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim, Smithsonian, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Neuberger Museum of Art. His work is also included in the corporate collections of J. Walter Thompson Company, the U.S. Steel Corporation and Bank of America.