Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"evolving visual landscape"

For Philip Guston, the "evolving visual landscape" led him from figurative painting, to abstract painting, to a hybrid of the two -- not merely figuration, as many suggest.

Earlier this year we noted a similar evolution in the painting of Elizabeth McIntosh, as featured in an exhibition Mina Totino curated at Equinox Gallery, entitled Persian Rose, Chartreuse Muse, Vancouver Grey.

A painting included in this exhibition is McIntosh's The Girl (2014):

When I first saw this work, I recognized it as a McIntosh painting for its use of colour, its attention to line and form -- this despite the presence of a figure.

After Guston debuted his figurative paintings in 1970, critics turned on him. Guston, who was clearly bothered by this, withdrew from the art scene, but continued to paint. A painting he made some years later was of the composer Morton Feldman, a friend who turned on him after he changed his style.

Here is Guston's Friend -- to M.F. (1978):

Although I would never suggest that the figure in McIntosh's The Girl is someone who turned away from the artist after her introduction of a figure into her painting, one wonders if in the midst of such a painting she might have considered for a moment what had happened to Guston.

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