Diebenkorn, Painting, and Contemplation

My most recent essay is now available to read on neotericART. The piece was written after an October 2011 trip to Texas that was funded partially by the University of Missouri (where I teach). It is a long contemplation on the experience of seeing Diebenkorn’s work in significant number and in appropriate surroundings, but also reflects the long-time presence the great artist’s work has held in my mind. I also see the text as a lateral critique of Raphael Rubinstein’s (part 1, part 2) and Sharon Butler‘s writings about provisionalist/casualist painting. I hope you enjoy the piece and would welcome any comments you have.

Inspiration – Richard Serra

Just got back from a trip to Dallas/Fort Worth to visit the Diebenkorn Ocean Park retrospective at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. It was stunning, and I’ll be writing my reflections on the show soon. But before we even got inside, we experienced one of the best Richard Serra¬†sculpture I’ve ever seen. Below are some shots from my visit – I’m with one of my best students and friends, Marcus Miers.

Marcus at the base.

A shot of the cor-ten behemoth against the sky.

A spire of light wedging into the interior of the piece.

Gazing upward from within.

And here I am against the space and light.

Serra’s piece at MMA in Fort Worth is spectacularly aural¬†in its manifestation. There is the quintessential feeling of massive heaviness, the sense of the density of the steel, the way the work shapes the space and the sky and the light within its parameters – but the sense of sound is truly unique. In most of Serra’s semi-enclosed works there is a kind of stillness to the air and the sound, a weightiness similar to the feeling of walking through a forest heavy with new-fallen snow. In this piece, however, the sound is fast and expansive, and every slight movement or sound is magnified and compressed within the interior space. What happens inside is heightened for those within, but people outside have their sense of the interior sound scape dampened. This inside and outside duality of sound is integral to the piece and makes the normally ominous quality of Serra’s steel more whimsical and lightly-felt.