For exhibition 52 in San Francisco we have selected a group of preponderately white paintings by artists selected in the stable and the sphere of the gallery. Painting after Robert Ryman (the contemporary artist perhaps most associated with white) has developed to emphasize its own physicality, and artists gain a particular focus in this regard when they eschew spectral colors for white. White paintings throw the viewer's attention back on the tactile qualities of the work, with a heightened sense of light. The voluntary constraints of working with white tend to bring out the individual traits that make each artist's work their own, their touch and accumulated decision making. Selecting the works for this modest hanging, I realized I could easily have curated a selection with ten times as many artists, resources permitting, for the discipline of painting white is widely practiced. Still, this small selection gives an indication of the range possible within the mode.

Concurrent with his 10-year retrospective at the New Museum Los Gatos, Stephen Beal has provided us with four of his most recent paintings for a focused installation in the middle gallery. Beal continues his ever permuting exploration of the grid, in this series with a seeming nod to the traditional motifs of Japanese country textiles, although any number of cultures could lay claim to the plaids he achieves through his complex layerings. Art historical references cavort in Beal's work, with precedents as wide ranging as Piet Mondrian's structures, Mark Tobey's white writing, Agnes Martin's measured passages, the textile-based explorations of Lyubov Popova, Annie Albers and Sonia Delaunay, and Sol Lewitt's programatic systems. The grid has a long-standing role in Modernism and Beal seems to make room for the entire history, while fashioning images that could be recognized from a galloping horse as his own.

Stephen Beal was Provost at California College of the Arts from 1997 to 2008. In May 2008, Beal was appointed president of CCA. Beal attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, and earned his M.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been exhibited in the Bay Area and throughout the Midwest. Stephen Beal: Warp and Weft: Selected Grid Paintings 2005 - 2015 runs through January 3, 2016 at New Museum Los Gatos.