Divide abstract expressionism into two camps, with one defined by explosive painters such as Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, who famously flung, splashed, poured and dripped paint in an attempt at primal expression. On the other side, you have Clyfford Still and Mark Rothko concentrating single colors in a more meditative expression of Jungian unconscious. Now enter the fiercely talented Helen Frankenthaler, who mixed an airy dash of Pollock's pouring with a dab of color concentrations, and voilà the color-field movement was born.
According to Gwen Chanzit, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Denver Art Museum, "The impact of these spectacular paintings comes from the flat expanses of radiant color present on a large scale, often with open compositions that include flowing color washes, striated bands, concentric rings of color or painted dots."
Now on view at the DAM, Color as Field: American Painting, 1950-1975 features approximately forty mega-canvases, ranging from the enveloping work of Morris Louis to the delicate color mists of Jules Olitski, the concentric rings of Kenneth Noland and the phantom-like works of Frankenthaler. The exhibit will also include predecessors such as Rothko, Still, Adolph Gottlieb and Robert Motherwell.
"These are eye candy," says Alison Carlman, communications assistant at the museum. "You walk up to the painting and have your whole field of vision filled with color. They are gorgeous to experience." Tickets are included in the price of museum admission; the DAM is at 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, For information, go to www.denverartmuseum.org.
Nov. 9-Feb. 3, 2007