Thursday, December 29, 2011

Colorful Lyricism

Helen Frankenthaler's Adriatic (1968) at the Norton Simon Museum's Surface Truths exhibit

I've been feeling a bit down over the past few days, since hearing of the death of Helen Frankenthaler, one of my favorite American abstract painters. Earlier this year, I had the good fortune to view her painting, Adriatic, on numerous occasions as part of my regular visits to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. I would sit down and let my mind drift into the orange clouds of the surface, following the subtle yet precise flows of color. It was always a rich aesthetic experience.

It pains me that this woman who has brought such beauty into my life has left this world.

I went over to LACMA to view her painting, Winter Hunt, to pay my respects. I prefer Adriatic, but I haven't had time to head over to the Huntington Museum, where I think it currently on view.

Detail of Winter Hunt (1958) by Helen Frankenthaler

Although it doesn't have the tranquility of Adriatic, this painting has her characteristic color play and lyrical compositional style. There's an authentic ferocity to the image, a serene savagery.

I hope that Helen Frankenthaler's legacy is celebrated and honored, serving as an inspiration for young artists interested in exploring the nuances of color.

Helen Frankenthaler (1956); photo by Gordon Parks

Here are a few vids:

Our sympathy goes out to her friends and family. Our love and admiration for Helen endures.

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