Let’s cut to the chase. Richard Diebenkorn is an artist of supreme soulful significance. Any opportunity to submerge oneself in his luxuriating hues and intelligent compositions should be immediately embraced.
My appreciation of Diebenkorn’s entire oeuvre is indisputable. Long before Gerhard Richter, he practiced a harmonious both/and paradigm between abstraction and interprative realism. He proved that geometric compositional distillation and expressive mark-making were symbiotic. This interdependence remains difficult for many to embrace. Briefly, and in non-sequential order, here are several musings on Diebenkorn.
Scale. Diebenkorn is equally facile in small, medium and grand scale painting and drawing. The exhibit contains numerous examples of painted Cigar Box tops that carry the same heroic weight as their 100 by 93 inch counterparts. Gestures physically made with fingertips and wrist have the bravado as brushstrokes executed with elbow and shoulder. And conversely, large brushstrokes carry the same delicacy and nuance as their miniature cousins.
Intentionality. Diebenkorn exerts enormous control over every aesthetic decision. There are drips and stains and bleedthroughs but each seems intentional and executed to a greater purpose. This dialogue with accident and the painting’s trajectory of push and pull is inspiring to study in one painting let alone 75!
Optical Pleasure. Dienbenkon’s color palette is unapologetically beautiful. Lush and vibrant, underpainting permeates every endeavor. This optical mixing of colors through layering and glazing techniques presents an art that is collaborative with every viewer’s optical capacity.
Light and Shadow. Figure and Ground. Line and Volume. These, and countless other polarities, are constantly dancing, switching and folding unto each other. Diebenkorn thusly acts as a choreographer and the picture plane is the proscenium stage on which this narrative boogie woogie reveals itself.