"Morris Louis," Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY. Through Jan. 19.
The unprimed, yellowed canvas and fading colors placed the paintings definitively in the past, back in the day when painters earnestly investigated their medium's endless possibilities. Smith concludes that Louis "painted himself into a corner and didn’t live long enough to work his way out. But in that corner he reached a modernist pinnacle in terms of freshness and immediacy, with his breathtakingly economical conversion of gesture, liquid color and canvas into abstract painting. Louis had a wonderful sense of scale that made his efforts imposing yet not overwhelming. This is because his loose poured forms have no weight and because you see the whole composition — and grasp how it was made — pretty much instantaneously." I had never been a fan of Color Field painting, but considering the scope of Louis's endeavor as revealed in the Hirshhorn retrospective, dismissing the paintings as decorative was misguided. (Note: his paintings were mostly untitled. After Louis died, his wife Marcella Louis Brenner assigned the titles for reference purposes.)
Joanne Mattera Art Blog visits the Morris show at Kasmin
Last chance to see "Colorfield Remix" in DC
Morris Louis unveiled