Messing With Space

Like a pig rooting for truffles I harvest luscious phrases from Roberta Smith’s art critiques.

After “he jumped on the Color Field painting bandwagon,” Jules Olitski (1922 – 2007) created works that “mess with space and scale in a visceral, almost sculptural way.”

His paintings have “wall power” and “come at us with cartoonish verve.”

They “tacitly ignore the medium’s physical limits, implying that the image extends far beyond the canvas….”

Olitski’s shapes “give us formalism at its most ferocious and most fun.” A critic who compares a shape to a “teething ring” is no slouch at fun. And it takes caliber to call a background “very pushy.”

Could the fact that “[Olitski’s] paintings have sometimes been called feminine” explain their appeal to my womanish nature? Not wholly; the man in me is on board with them too.

(Roberta Smith, “The Great Beginning of Jules Olitski,” NYTimes, 1-28-21)

(c) 2021 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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4 Responses to Messing With Space

  1. Thank you for introducing me to Olitski – really good stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

    • JMN says:

      I’ve come late to this comment. Thank you for it! I also found Olitski quite appealing. The majority of the painters I comment on are new to me, so a discovery. I wish I could paint abstractly, but I’m not sure I have the imagination. Best regards to you.


      • I find your blog delightfully educative – just what I need! I think you mentioned Clarice Beckett in an earlier post – a new exhibition of her work is currently on show in Adelaide. There seems to be interest in her work over here at last. Best wishes. Sue

        Liked by 1 person

      • JMN says:

        Thank you, Sue. Lovely to have your attention and to follow your work. Cheers and regards.


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