museumuesum

THE INTERSECTIONS OF ABSTRACTION, TEXT & LANGUAGE, POST-MODERNIST AESTHETICS, EXPERIMENTAL, PERFORMATIVE, MULTI-MEDIA APPROACHES TO ARTMAKING // ORIGINAL CONTENT SELECTED BY JONATHAN WEISKOPF, BROOKLYN, NY
ARSHILE GORKY
Dark Green Painting, c. 1948
Oil on canvas, 43 3/4 x 55 1/2 inches (111.1 x 141 cm)
Dark Green Painting is one of Gorky’s very last works. In retrospect, its dense surface and somber palette hint at tragedy. The artist’s sophisticated use of unexpected colors is as remarkable here as in his luminous works of the early 1940s. Gorky is one of the great draftsmen of the twentieth century, and that quality is revealed as much in paintings such as this one as in his large body of drawings. His fluid field of fragmented and hovering shapes suggests what might be interpreted as an “automatic” composition. But, as in the case of much modern work once believed to have been freely improvised—ranging from the floating fields of Joan Miró to the allover surfaces of Jackson Pollock—this composition was intensely planned down to each detail. A large-scale drawing in pencil and crayon meticulously plots on a gridded page the design of the painting to follow. While the painter wished his work to look as though it sprang directly from his unconscious, the ability to convey that impression required a level of control and virtuosity developed over years of intense discipline.

ARSHILE GORKY

Dark Green Painting, c. 1948

Oil on canvas, 43 3/4 x 55 1/2 inches (111.1 x 141 cm)

Dark Green Painting is one of Gorky’s very last works. In retrospect, its dense surface and somber palette hint at tragedy. The artist’s sophisticated use of unexpected colors is as remarkable here as in his luminous works of the early 1940s. Gorky is one of the great draftsmen of the twentieth century, and that quality is revealed as much in paintings such as this one as in his large body of drawings. His fluid field of fragmented and hovering shapes suggests what might be interpreted as an “automatic” composition. But, as in the case of much modern work once believed to have been freely improvised—ranging from the floating fields of Joan Miró to the allover surfaces of Jackson Pollock—this composition was intensely planned down to each detail. A large-scale drawing in pencil and crayon meticulously plots on a gridded page the design of the painting to follow. While the painter wished his work to look as though it sprang directly from his unconscious, the ability to convey that impression required a level of control and virtuosity developed over years of intense discipline.

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