An Awesome New Diebenkorn Book

IMG_7460

I just recently picked up a fantastic new Diebenkorn book, and it turns out to be very impressive. No, I’m not talking about the new Berkeley Years catalog (though I did buy that a few weeks ago and am enjoying it). This is a volume out of a small California publisher called Kelly’s Cove Press.

The book, Richard Diebenkorn: Abstractions on Paper contains 88 full color images and a few black and white shots of Diebenkorn’s studios. There are a few points that make this paperback book exceptional. First, it contains dozens of works that have never before been published. This isn’t because they were lacking in quality; many of the pieces shown here really display Diebenkorn’s quintessential processes very well. Secondly, the book shows abstractions on paper from all of the major locations where he worked throughout his life: Sausalito, Albuquerque, Urbana, Berkeley, Ocean Park and Healdsburg.

IMG_7457

The Healdsburg works contained in this book make it indispensable for aficionados of Diebenkorn’s work. I’ve followed every Diebenkorn publication, traveled to see his work in many states, and searched widely to find examples of his work. There simply is no other publication that contains as many Healdsburg-era works that I know of.

The book lacks any scholarly essays, which is a virtue. The only words are short quotes from the artist interspersed among the images and a short biography at the end. This gives us nearly 125 pages of beautiful artworks, printed nicely in an 8 by 6 inch format. I’ll definitely be keeping this book close to me for informal browsing. But don’t let the small size fool you – the overall feel and color quality is excellent.

IMG_7458

Authorized by the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, the book was produced in support of what should be a fantastic traveling exhibition titled The Intimate Diebenkorn: Works on Paper 1949-1992. The exhibition starts at the College of Marin Fine Arts Gallery (Kentfield, CA – 9/28/13-11/21/13) and then moves on to San Jose State University (4/15/14-5/17/14), American University (Washington DC – 11/8/14-12/14/14), Sonoma Valley Museum of Art (6/6/15-8/23/15), and ends at The University of Montana (Missoula, MT – 9/24/15-12/12/15).

IMG_7459

This book is well worth the mere $20 it costs to pick it up. If you’re into Diebenkorn, it’s essential. If you love Abstract Expressionism, works on paper, gestural painting, collage, West Coast art, or the California art traditions, you’ll love this book. Click here to buy it.

~

I’ve had the chance to write about Diebenkorn’s work a few times. My most recent essay about the artist is Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park: Provisional Action, Provisional Vision, and is available to read here.

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.

Visiting Ocean Park

Recently I visited Fort Worth to experience the retrospective of Richard Diebenkorn‘s Ocean Park paintings. I have spent the last two weeks trying to process what I saw and what I think about what I saw. I’ve loved Diebenkorn’s work since my first encounter with it. I had to wait nearly 15 years to get the chance to really see the work in context. I’m in the midst of writing my reflections; they’ll appear over at Neoteric Art sometime in the next month or so. For now, check out some pictures of me and Marcus taking in the majesty of Ocean Park.

Marcus sketching from Ocean Park #30.

Marcus scrutinzing Ocean Park #135 – that’s the corner of Ocean Park #93 above his pencil.

Me taking in the glory of Ocean Park #40 from across the gallery.

Here I am considering Ocean Park #79.

And jump here and here to see some pages from my notebook written/scribbled during my time in the exhibition.

If you can’t make it to the venues the show will travel to over the next year, be sure to see this nice photo essay from the current iteration of the show.

Two New Books

First off, I received my new Diebenkorn book this week. Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series is lush (in design), expansive (it contains many reproductions), and – best of all – it’s full of never before seen (in broadly-published form) paintings, prints and drawings. I’m doubly charged up by this book since I (and one of my students, Marcus Miers) are heading down to Fort Worth to see the Diebenkorn show next week!

Also, my own slim tome – 62 pages, 9 essays – just came out, published by Neoteric Art in Chicago.

It’s available in standard paperback version and in an ereader version. It should be up on Amazon in a few weeks as well.

Beginning Painting, August 1997

In August of 1997 I began art school at Munson Williams Proctor Institute of Art. At the time the school was transitioning into the upstate extension campus of Pratt Institute. Bright, new facilities (the best I’ve ever had access to, anywhere, any time) were there for us to cut our aesthetic teeth on, and an energetic faculty with a sense of the coming transformation challenged a really great group of students during those transitional years. Recognized artists such as Sam Salisbury and Silas Dilworth, among others, were there in and around the same years I was.

It was during my first weeks there that I was exposed to two images that would define much of the next decade of my artistic life. There, spread out on a table in the large painting room were two books (among many others). Two images – one from each – caught my eye. The first was “Twilight” by Odd Nerdrum, the second was an iconic Ocean Park series piece by Richard Diebenkorn. I clearly remember the paradoxical exclamation that leapt into my mind as I gazed at the two works that seemed separated by a huge gulf: “I want to do THAT!” – meaning both.

I’ve spent the last twelve and a half years working to reconcile them. And though I’ve moved on to deeper and perhaps more legitimate inspirational sources and muses, I find that key moment during one of my first official art classes still hangs with me. I’m grateful for it.