Alissa Blumenthal: The secret language


My new paintings and drawings are part of the ongoing “Blumenthal project”, which consists of artwork and ephemera attributed to Russian-American Modernist painter, Aissa Blumenthal.

The new body of work documents Blumenthal’s long-term endeavor to discover and decipher a secret language behind the abstract and semi-abstract images in her own paintings. As a Modernist artist, she believed in the existence of universally significant forms that could be revealed through abstraction. At the age of sixty she embarked on an impossible project of identifying such forms and linking them to abstract concepts and ideas expressed through language. She was working as a painter, poet, cryptographer and philosopher, sorting through numerous images, words and concepts, analyzing their formal, semantic and syntagmatic relationships in search of elusive links and ephemeral connections that might reveal the universal significance of abstract forms. Despite the Modernist premise of her project, Blumenthal’s fruitless effort at pinpointing the slippery meaning of abstraction highlighted the post-Modernist idea of endless interpretation - interpretation that is forever incomplete and circular, always turning back to itself to generate infinite sequences of new meanings.



  • "that I might touch", oil on canvas, 24 x 24 in., 2016

  • Lexicon (1), pencil on paper, 9 x 12 in., 2016

  • Tetrameter (1), oil on canvas, 24 x 24 in., 2015

  • Pentameter (1), oil on canvas, 24 x 60 in., 2016

  • Dimeter (2): "The plum, I suppose", oil on canvas, 12 x 24 in., 2015

  • Tetrameter (3), oil on canvas, 24 x 24 in., 2015

  • Dimeter (3): "Down, below", oil on canvas, 12 x 24 in., 2015

  • Dimeter (6): "Westward, freshness", oil on canvas, 12 x 24 in., 2015

  • Tetrameter (4), oil on canvas, 24 x 24 in., 2015

  • Dimeter (5), oil on canvas, 12 x 24'', 2015

  • Tetrameter (2), oil on canvas, 24 x 24 in., 2015