Thursday, December 29, 2011

Remembering Helen Frankenthaler, Abstract Painter (1928-2011)

Inspired by Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler (left) took abstract expressionism in a new direction. Where Pollock and Willem de Kooning emphasized raw emotion through gestural “action painting,” Frankenthaler, who passed away on Tuesday, reveled in the sheer beauty of color, inspiring other artists in what emerged as color field painting. Frankenthaler diluted her paints and poured them directly onto unprimed canvas, manipulating them with mops and sponges as they soaked into the surface. The result was broad fields of luminous color, often evocative of the natural world, including "Nature Abhors A Vacuum" (1973) above. For more on this innovative painter who left us with many works of breathtaking beauty, read the New York Times obituary; read and listen to two NPR profiles, one following her passing and one from 1988; listen to NPR on the color field artists, and view a video profile.

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