Color as Field: American Painting, 1950-1975, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

 

 Color as Field: American Painting, 1950-1975, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, Kenneth Noland, MINUS SPACE, Brooklyn

Kenneth Noland, Following Sea, 1974
Acrylic on canvas, 98 x 98 inches

February 29 — May 26, 2008

Color field painting, which emerged in the United States in the 1950s, is characterized by pouring, staining, or spraying thinned paint onto raw canvas, creating vast chromatic expanses. Exemplified in the work of Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons, and Frank Stella, these paintings constitute one of the crowning achievements of postwar American abstract art. Surprisingly, there has not been a major exhibition or book to date that has examined the color field artists as a group or color field painting—its sources, meaning, and impact. Color as Field, encompassing approximately forty-one large-scale canvases, presents a remarkable opportunity for viewers to fully comprehend the aims of these artists, view their finest works in close relation to each other, and experience the beauty and visual magnetism of their pictorial handling of space and color.

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