JACKSON POLLOCK, Deposition, c. 1930-36, oil on canvas, 7 1/2 x 16 in. CR7
BRADLEY WALKER TOMLIN, Untitled, 1952, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 in.
This is the first in a series of installations we will send off to your virtual space from ours in hopes you will find them of interest or perhaps stimulating. On our “Wall” there is a curious relationship between the early 1930s Pollock and the 1950s Tomlin. It is highly unlikely that Tomlin ever saw this Pollock but Pollock was a profound influence in the 1950s. However, it is certainly obvious that Pollock was greatly influenced by the Mexican muralists as was clearly evidenced in “Vida Americana” at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Over the past six weeks, I have not been in the gallery. This is longer than any summer vacation I have enjoyed during my 70 years in this business and certainly it is not by choice, but pandemic.
One’s mind wanders, not only back to marvelous exhibitions, but also favorite paintings and sculptures, not to mention artists and clients. Furthermore, given my love of installation, I can now indulge myself in many "virtual walls" and have decided to share them with you.
Meanwhile, please stay safe.
RAY PARKER, Untitled, c. 1954, oil on canvas, 51 x 51 in.
RAY PARKER, Untitled, c. 1960, oil on canvas, 75 x 66 1/2 in.
It will never cease to amaze me how artists can completely transform their work in a matter of a year or less.
The 1954 painting by Parker on the left is a wonderful example of his “stroke” paintings. They relate to the work of other 1950s artists given their emphasis on brush strokes and a rich mixture of many dense colors.
The completely different 1960 painting to the right is a sublime example of Parker’s “simple” paintings which he began in 1954 just about a year after the "stroke" paintings. Parker created these “simple” paintings with rags, not a brush, and layered on thin coats of color to develop the shapes.
The Washburn Gallery has represented the estate of Ray Parker for many years. I could have selected other paintings to illustrate my thoughts, however I could not resist these two superb paintings because Ray gave both to his personal physician probably in lieu of cash. The Parkers hung in the doctor's apartment until his death several years ago. When the apartment was sold, the doctor's family brought both to the gallery to be sold.
It should be noted that Ray Parker enjoyed great critical recognition over these years with exhibitions of both “stroke" and "simple" paintings in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and Milano.
Meanwhile, please stay safe.
ILYA BOLOTOWSKY, "Black Light," 1950, oil on canvas, 22 x 34 in.
ALICE TRUMBULL MASON, "#1 Towards a Paradox," 1969, oil on canvas, 19 x 22 in.
" [Alice Trumbull] Mason is one of several American painters — including Ilya Bolotowsky, Burgoyne Diller and Fritz Glarner — called Mondrianistes, for their devotion to Mondrian. But only Mason made his ideas her own: her grids were always implied and her colors rarely pure...Works from the late 1960s are some of Mason’s best, dominated by perpendicular blocks of color. From 1969, the last year Mason painted, '#1 Towards a Paradox' features an irregular dark red cross on a brighter red background, punctuated with near-squares and rectangles in black, gray and mouse-brown. These elements pulsate at slightly different depths, echoing the synergy of Mondrian’s 'Broadway Boogie Woogie,' but bolder."
-Roberta Smith, The New York Times, April 30, 2020
MYRON STOUT, Untitled, 1951 (March 5), oil on canvas, 24 x 32 in.
MYRON STOUT, "Apollo," c. 1955-, oil on canvas, 40 x 23 in. (Private Collection)
"Stout embarked for France and Italy in the summer of 1949, where he experienced first hand the phenomenon Hofmann called 'color light:' 'In nature, light creates color; in painting, color creates light.' Stout was captivated by the stained glass of St. Chapelle in Paris and the 'brilliance and imprecision' of the Byzantine mosaics. In Venice, the full sense of color of Titian and the Venetian painters, as well as the temperas of the 14th century Florentine and Sienese, resulted in his 'multicolored, multifaceted, multiplaned' paintings of 1949-50. Upon entering a major Matisse exhibition, Stout nearly broke down in tears. The experience was like walking into St. Chapelle; the light was 'coming through the paintings and you were bathed in the light from these paintings.'
Stout's journals from the following year trace a fascination with what he called a 'diagonal axis' in the works of Bellini, Giorgione, Titian Tintoretto, Rubens and El Greco, an axis that created 'the pathway to a tremendous and powerfully charged space' in which he painter could establish,'through an infinity of poles, currents which flow and leap everywhere.' His paintings began to veer away from the horizontal and vertical toward a more diagonal composition, rising and falling on a central kinetic axis 'with implications of spiraling.' Stout described this 'vital inter-polar play of movement' as akin to a move in the dance called the Charleston, in a horizontal sense (hands placed on the knees, changing from one knee to the other every time the knees come together), or in a vertical sense like the rotating barber pole, where the end of the movement feeds the beginning in a cyclic 'compression of time and space.'"
-Tina Dickey, Excerpt from "Selections from the Journals of Myron Stout," 2005, Midmarch Arts Press
DOUG OHLSON, "Slip," 1967, acrylic on canvas, 90 x 87 in.
DOUG OHLSON, Untitled, c. 1976-77, oil on canvas, 50 x 51 in.
“Ohlson stands at the current end of a long line of painters who have in various ways revealed that color is the music of visual art: color, like music, is abstract, sensuous, and sufficient unto itself. He has been developing his own ways and means to work with this approach for thirty-some years. Until the end of the nineteenth century color had to be used in a subterfuge of associations and as a means rather than an end. It had to support all other forms of materiality except those exceptional to itself. One of the greatest contributions of modern art in this century had been the effort to release color frankly and openly from secondary roles. Even Matisse, who made such a major contribution with his kind of color, was reluctant to abandon a modicum of illusion of nature in his pictures. Matisse was unable to find another way to prevent his art from becoming totally decorative. It is Ohlson’s passionate preoccupation with this unfinished problem in modern art that makes post-modernism a non sequitur and his work so essential to the continuation of painting as a vital art.”
- E.C. Goossen, Excerpt from “Doug Ohlson,” 1982, Bennington College,VT
ELAINE DE KOONING, "Self Portrait," 1944, oil on board, 13 1/2 x 11 3/8 in.
MICHAEL GOLDBERG, Untitled, 1959, oil on canvas, 31 x 35 1/2 in.
"Communication is no more an aim for the artist than it is for the prize-fighter—even though they both intend to be seen, ultimately, by the public. Conflict is the essence of both professions."
-Elaine de Kooning, 1984
"I've often wanted to attack the surface violently, and if I begin a picture that way, I have the distinct impression I'm shadow boxing—there's nothing fighting back—and it's only when a painting is able effectively to fight back, when it begins to have an existence that can counter what I want to impose on it, that it becomes a life and death proposition."
-Mike Goldberg, It Is., Spring 1958