The paintings of 90-year-old Frank Auerbach, “last surviving member of a pathfinding generation of postwar British figurative painters,” are up my alley. Auerbach’s iterative pigment attacks are savage and astonishing, and Jason Farago is always good for a blue-streak of commentary.
Viscid, murky… paintings… not the sort you love at first sight… burned oranges and sallow yellows, the dirty browns and olives of a filthy bus window… a narrow band of brown and ocher smears, only a bit differentiated from a background of bilious blue-green…
… Fluid, vigorous lines, full of zigzags and hairpin turns, applied with an almost vulgar density… a hard-to-interpret helix of sickly, mossy yellow-green: a calligraphic whirlwind that, from another painter, would read as a gesture of impertinence.
Farago’s ear fails him only when he writes “gloopy glory”; the glory is “goopy.”
(Jason Farago, “The Gloopy Glory of Frank Auerbach’s Portraits,” NYTimes, 1-21-21)
(c) 2021 JMN