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About the Artist: Douglas Abdell's early work impresses the viewer with its monolithic character as well as its unusual titling. The large black slabs of the Aekyad series (roughly 1977-1980) resemble arcane totems, secretive in meaning and cryptically named. Abdell arrived at the respective titles of Krefe-Aekyad and Kranae-Aekyad through a combination of phonetic fragments, giving his sculpture "an independent language in its own right."
Linearity and angularity dominate the series. Abdell noted that many of the Aekyads originated as drawings; straight lines, created through simple mark-making, meet at right and acute angles to form the contour of the work. The contour is extended back through space forming the slab-like shape.
The emphasis on both line and angle in the Aekyad series is reminiscent of Abdell's earlier Kryad series (1973-1977). Following the award of his BFA from Syracuse University in 1970, Abdell earned national recognition with the Kryads. The tripodal character of this series was described by Abdell as "three long forms leading up to a central mass, with one long form emanating from that mass." Although Abdell often saw the Aekyads as a development from his experimentation with the Kryads, the latter lacks the monolithic proportions of the former. In this manner, the Aekyads share more characteristics with minimalist sculpture, particularly the work of Tony Smith (1912-81). However, Abdell's enigmatic titles, with their inference to latent meaning, offer comparison to Abstract Expressionist sculpture.