Almine Rech London opens an exhibition of work by Larry Poons

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Wednesday, February 28, 2024


Almine Rech London opens an exhibition of work by Larry Poons
This exhibition includes a wide representation of Poons work, spanning from the 1970’s all the way to present day.



LONDON.- When the preeminent curator Henry Geldzahler featured Larry Poons’ work in the landmark exhibition New York Painting and Sculpture 1940-1970, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which opened in late 1969, he devoted the show’s culminating gallery to the artist — at 32, Poons was the youngest included. The room glowed with Poons’ early “Dots and Lozenge” paintings, as well as several then-recent expansive, colorful abstractions, later regarded as iconic works in the Color Field movement. Geldzahaler thereby positioned Poons as heir to the heroic era of American painting, following in the footsteps of Pollock, de Kooning, and Rothko, whose seminal works preceded Poons in the exhibition plan. Poons was regarded as the promising, guiding and rising star who could lead the way toward exciting new possibilities for contemporary painting.

Over the course of five decades since the Met exhibition, Poons has more than fulfilled that promise. His trajectory was, however, not what most critics and art-world observers were expecting, or perhaps were even equipped to understand. Poons, as it turns out, was a much more radical painter than anyone could have imagined. Indifferent to the demands of critics, curators, and the marketplace, he remained steadfast on his own, inimitable path, constantly evolving and always surprising his audience.

The present exhibition at Almine Rech London constitutes a concise Larry Poons survey that picks up where Geldzhaler’s show left off. It includes a representative work of the 1970s, Yellow Cat on Hand (1976), a marvelous example of his richly textured “Throw” paintings. Here, cascades of innumerable rivulets of pigment flow down the large canvas like a mesmerizing waterfall. In these works, Poons embraces chance, as well as the laws of gravity. With prolonged viewing, the composition’s intense vertical thrust, combined with the constantly shifting range of indeterminate color, becomes arresting. Its dazzling sense of up-and-downward motion provokes a visual sensation not unlike the flickering optical effect of the contrasting colors in his earlier “Dots” paintings.

By the 1980s, Poons was renowned as one of the pioneers of Color Field painting, but defying expectations, he shifted away from a focus on pure color, and furthered his experiments with texture, enhancing the already rich impasto of his surfaces. In works such as The 4 Fenton Bros (1985) and Carioca (1986), he applied bits of foam rubber and crumbled paper to the canvas in order to slow the movement of the numerous layers of thrown paint. The results are enthralling allover compositions of richly nuanced textures and often earthy colors that recall rocky cliff faces or lichen covered hillsides on a rainy day.

The large 1990 composition Music is a key work in Poons’ evolution. The surface of this sumptuous, prismatic-hued canvas has been built up with clusters of hemisphere—bisected rubber balls of varying diameters, and bits of rolled and crumpled paper fixed to the canvas and ensconced beneath many layers of shimmering pigment. This unique palimpsest indeed conveys a pulsating rhythm befitting the work’s title. Music alludes to Poons’ background in music, as well as his lifelong interest in it, and the work introduces a new, idiosyncratic type of pictorialism within his oeuvre. It represents a bold step forward, away from the constraints of Greenbergian formalism associated with the early days of Color Field painting, with its emphasis on flat surfaces and pure, unmodulated color.




I have long regarded The Hanged Man (1994) as one of Poons’ masterpieces, and therefore, one of the best paintings by anyone in the 1990s. The painting encompasses a Poons retrospective to that date unto itself, so it requires some knowledge of and an appreciation for a number of Poons’s earlier achievements. The title calls to mind The Hanged Man’s House (1873) by Paul Cézanne — with its dramatic diagonal lines, and eccentric, multiple perspectives. Poons’ composition is equally complex, arcane, and full of self-referential humor.

Atop a series of elongated, hooklike shapes and irregular rectangles of foam collaged onto the surface, Poons has applied thrown and poured passages of pink and purple, highlighted near the top of the canvas with painterly flourishes of purple and blue, redolent of his poured-paint works of the late 1960s, and the “Throw” paintings of the 1970s. Scattered across the surface is a hyper-active network of colorful hard-edge dots and lozenge shapes, which hark back to his early “Dots” paintings, which established his career.

In works of the early twenty-first century, Poons developed a distinctive pictorial language—in compositions of heightened color and crisp drawing—that often suggests landscape. In fact, the imagery of undulating geometric shapes, organic and architectonic forms, and searing color in works such as One Inch Less Wild (2001) and Untitled/02B-1 (2002) was inspired by his many cross-country motorcycle trips. A senior-division champion, Poons would annually traverse the United States on motorcycle, accompanied by his wife, artist Paula De Luccia. These works may be viewed as an homage to the various desert vistas and mountainous terrain of America that Poons knows so well. The artist, however, has transposed these landscape memories into his own painterly vocabulary of light and color. “Painting is color!” Poons often proclaims.

In his more recent works, Poons largely abandoned the three-dimensional elements that often served as the underlying drawing or armature for each composition. For the most part, he also abandoned brushes, and many recent works, including No Home (2010), and Bye Corinthian (2016) were painted primarily with hands and fingers. It seems as if Poons has returned painting to a realm of primordial artistic expression, in which the basic human emotions, and the physical and psychological sensations of living, are embodied in the fundamental mark-making capabilities of the human hand—the artist’s hand.

In recent masterful efforts, such as Happy Carlo (2017) and Centaur (2020) with their frenetically shifting clouds of light and color, realized by means of countless bravura touches of pigment, Poons demonstrates his virtuosity with seemingly effortless panache. Already an art-historical figure, widely regarded as among the foremost colorists of the latter half of the twentieth century, Poons is as relevant today as ever. With the vibrant, energetic, and surprising works he continues to produce, he reenforces his stature as one of the most significant artists of this moment.

- David Ebony, Author

This exhibition is organized in association with Yares Art, New York.










Today's News

June 7, 2021

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers to hold 'Fine Art + Furniture & Decorative Arts' on June 9

Lost painting by Sir Winston Churchill from the Onassis Family Collection to be offered at Phillips

Major presentation of new works by Yayoi Kusama opens at Victoria Miro

Collectors of digital NFTs see a 'Wild West' market worth the risk

Clarence Williams III, a star of 'Mod Squad,' is dead at 81

David Zwirner opens an exhibition of paintings by Bridget Riley

Now Open: Diane Arbus curated by Carrie Mae Weems

Calder's Untitled and Kirchner's Pantomime Reimann: Die Rache der Tänzerin will highlight Christie's sale

The Metropolitan Museum of Art launches "Your Met Art Box" in collaboration with Citymeals on Wheels

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents one of the largest crochet works to date by Ernesto Neto

Yoshi Wada, inventive creator of sound worlds, dies at 77

Friedman Benda opens a group exhibition curated by Glenn Adamson

Four Scottish artists' work acquired by Government Art Collection

$19 million in endowment gifts given to Minneapolis Institute of Art

Christie's Paris Design sales achieved a total of €9,384,875

Original Air takes flight: The largest sneaker auction ever held at Christie's

Eva Birkenstock appointed new Director of the Ludwig Forum for International Art in Aachen

How 'Hamilton' saved a bookstore from dying

A beloved London concert hall grows bold as it turns 120

Kerlin Gallery opens solo exhibitions of works by Elizabeth Magill and Kathy Prendergast

Almine Rech London opens an exhibition of work by Larry Poons

Hemingway-inscribed For Whom the Bell Tolls headed to Heritage Auctions

Christie's achieves €8,2 million for the Post-War and Contemporary art day sale

Ground-breaking male form sale at Bonhams

With 'In the Heights,' Anthony Ramos finds stardom on his own terms

Want more diverse conductors? Orchestras should look to assistants.

Difference between Screen Printing and Digital Printing




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful