Rich with significant examples of both gestural abstraction and post-painterly abstraction, the evolution of mark-making rises to the fore as a major theme in MOCA Jacksonville’s collection. Borne out of Modernist painting as well as “action painting”—a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied—this theme extends to present day, where brushstrokes fade away to innovative mark-making techniques or performance and video. Here, the mark (or gesture) is an extension of the artist’s mind, one motivated by an impulsive and intuitive process between the artist and his brush. In each, the essential elements of surface, shape, and spatiality can be made into potent carriers of emotion and drama. Expanding beyond abstraction, some artworks incorporate representational images or subtle hints of narrative.

Color Field pioneer Sam Gilliam, for example, first applied acrylic paint to raw, unprimed canvas by staining it like a piece of fabric, as realized in the sculpture-painting hybrid Hedge Sky. Whereas Jackie Saccoccio’s process is both intuitive and improvisational as she lifts and tilts one canvas onto another, visible in the pools, channels, and trickles of paint across the surface of Time Smelt.

The Evolution of Mark-making represents one of the deepest holdings in the Museum’s permanent collection. Other artists in this theme include Richard Anuszkiewicz, Alexander Calder, Chuck Close, Helen Frankenthaler, Angela Glajcar, Maya Hayuk, Hans Hofmann, Sol LeWitt, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Jill Nathanson, Jules Olitski, Fran O’Neill, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Alison Rossiter, and Frank Stella, among others.