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Showing posts from January, 2019

Present to Past: Threads of Continuity at Delaware Art Museum

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Fran├žoise Barnes, Misumena Ellipsoides, quilted cotton blend, silk, and polyester batting, 1988, Delaware Art Museum

I was at Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington last Thursday. I've had a personal rule when visiting a museum that I have to look at the older art first.
The whole drive up from Baltimore was through a punishing driving rain. Maybe some brashly colorful art would shake that chill out of my bones. So breaking with tradition my first stop was the contemporary gallery. I saw that Contemporary Curator Margaret Winslow had rearranged the gallery since my last visit, which makes everything look fresh. 
What caught my eye was the fabric wall hanging above. Though I'm known as a landscape painter, my first years as an artist I worked abstractly and still have a fondness for bold abstracted forms. This ambitious piece by Francoise Barnes was visually rich and elegant. She overlapped a network of bright colored shapes on a background of subtle grayed-down forms. It formed a ver…

Allen Art Museum, Frank Stella and the Great Tree of Art

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Frank Stella, Chocurua, acrylic on canvas, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Working in my studio this morning on a new large canvas that's based on the small oil painting below, I was blocking in the main shapes. This is the stage before I start adding any details. Three major trees dominate the composition. Bringing out a different personality for each one calls for rearranging the patterns of their branches. As the new painting is much larger some additional invention is needed.

Philip Koch, Uncharted, oil on panel, 7 1/2 x 10 inches, 2015



Detail from Philip Koch's in-progress 36 x 48 inch canvas

As I worked my mind drifted back to my earliest days as a painter studying at Oberlin College in the late 1960's. At the time I was enraptured by the exuberance of the sharply contrasting flat shapes used by the artist Frank Stella. They inspired my first paintings.  Looking back Stella cemented the idea of how expressive simple flat silhouettes can be. To this day that m…