Abstract Painting – Three Approaches
I just got to see an excellent small exhibit right now at Tina Kim Gallery juxteposing 2 paintings each of De Kooning, Mitchell, and Richter from the 1980s. There are a couple of things I find interesting about comparing the work of these three artists. First, we see three distinct possibilities for abstraction – abstracting the figure (De Kooning); abstracting landscape (Mitchell); invented or created realities (Richter). Second, we see the development of three distinct treatments of pictorial space. De Kooning’s space is shallow, hovering right at the picture plane, built up with overlapping shapes and the interplay of positive and negative space. Mitchell’s space is voluminous, built up with broken strokes of color on color, and swelling out of the picture plane. Richter creates a deep atmospheric space through the relation of differing paint applications, color, and surface texture.
Despite their differences in gender, nationality and age, each worked solitarily throughout this era that was dominated largely by bombastic new voices, quietly producing what are still regarded as some of the most virtuosic works in their respective oeuvres. Though all of the works in this exhibition can be categorized under the same general rubric of “abstract painting”, each artist approached the canvas from a unique perspective. This juxtaposition of these six large-scale works provokes questions of process, intent and composition that are among the most fundamental to the genre of painting.
Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) / Untitled XII / 1985 / Oil on canvas / 79 9/10 x 70 1/10 inches, 203 x 178 cm / tinakimgallery.com
Joan Mitchell (1925-1992) / Grande Vallée II (Amaryllis) / 1983 / Oil on canvas / 86 x 75 1/2 inches, 218.4 x 191.8 cm / tinakimgallery.com
Gerhard Richter / Georg / 1981 / Oil on canvas / 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 inches, 200 x 200 cm / tinakimgallery.com
De Kooning, Mitchell, Richter @ Tina Kim Gallery, 545 West 25th Street, 3rd Floor through 11/15Tags: Paint, abstract, gerhard richter, Willem de Kooning, tinakimgallery, landscape art