Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to present Caro, Frankenthaler, Louis, Noland, Olitski, Stella: Curated by Hayden Dunbar and Stewart Waltzer on view at 293 Tenth Avenue January 24 – February 23, 2013, featuring artworks by Anthony Caro, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, and Frank Stella.
Caro, Frankenthaler, Louis, Noland, Olitski, Stella will present a selection of paintings and sculptures by master abstract artists whose work, deemed radical in the 1960s, carries a lasting influence on the art world to this day. The artists shown in this exhibition are part of a generation of painters and sculptors who veered away from the dominant subjective and gestural Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1950s. The painters Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland championed the style of painting referred to as “Color Field.” Focusing on explorations of color and composition with an emphasis on flatness and line, Color Field painters rejected illusions of depth and brushwork and rather, applied color in geometric motifs spanning the entire flat surface of canvas. Intent on erasing the distinction between the subject and its background, Color Field painters approached each canvas as a single plane. The expansive canvases of the Color Field Painters invite and envelop the viewer in a vibrant atmosphere of color. Louis and Noland’s pivotal studio visit with the painter Helen Frankenthaler in 1953 exposed them to her groundbreaking style, where she diluted and thinned paint that seemed to intertwine with raw unprimed canvas. This visit inspired both artists; Noland began to paint in a symmetrical straight-edged fashion with an emphasis on geometric line and color. Louis soaked and stained his unprimed canvases in veils of radiant translucent thinned acrylic paint from 1954 to 1962.
Clement Greenberg proclaimed Noland and Louis major figures in American art, naming the two artists as the successors to Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Noland continued to influence the art world after the 1960s, breaking boundaries of form, medium and scale in his work. Noland died in 2010 at the age of 85. Louis’s radical approach to painting began attracting national and critical attention around the time of his death in 1962. In 2007, Paul Kasmin Gallery showed a selection of Louis’s work entitled “Paintings.”
In the 1960’s, Frank Stella began to gain recognition for his unusually shaped canvases, which created a sculptural effect opposing the theory of flatness. Stella is a recipient of many honors and awards, including the first prize at the 1967 International Biennial of Paintings. Stella’s work has been the subject of several retrospectives in the United States, Europe, and Japan. His painting, “Moultonville II”, 1966, was exhibited in “Color as Field: American Painting, 1950-1975,” the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2008, along with works by Frankenthaler, Louis, Noland, and Olitski.
Anthony Caro rose to prominence in the 1960s for his large-scale, abstract sculptures, and is considered to be an icon for Color Field painters. During the 1960s, Caro utilized oxyacetylene welding equipment and scrap metal from London dockyards and began to experiment with cutting, welding, and bolting together pre-fabricated steel girders, meshes and sheet metal. The resulting abstract sculptures explored similar topics as Color Field painters such as scale, form, surface and space. Born in 1924 in England, Anthony Caro’s career spans more than five decades, during which he has received numerous honors, critical acclaim, and is renowned as Britain’s most important living sculptor. Anthony Caro’s major exhibitions include retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1975), the Trajan Markets, Rome (1992), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1995), Tate Britain, London (2005). Caro lives and works in England.
Jules Olitski is known for his desire to create colors that look like they are diffused into the air. Olitski challenged and widened the definition of Color Field in the 1970s by using spray paint to achieve his vision. Greenberg described him as “the greatest painter alive” in 1990. Olitski’s first solo museum exhibition was at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC, in 1967. In 1969, he exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A retrospective was held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1973.