Contextual Research CPS Painting Research Studio Practice Term 2

Contextual post – Richard Diebenkorn

Richard Diebenkorn is an artist who is known as “one of the finest abstract painters” in America. He has done abstract work as well as figuration, making him a versatile artist not tied down by one thing. His work focused a lot on places he worked and lived using balanced compositions and beautiful colour palettes.

I have decided to research Richard Diebenkorn as I find his different angles and perceptions very unique, as well as the way he makes flat paintings come out of the canvas and pull the viewer in. I also like the limited colour palettes as it is realistic yet achieved in a way that shows everything isn’t a solid colour, there are often a lot of colours that build up things such as the sea and the sky which is something I would like to explore in my own work using washes of colours and layers.

‘Cityscape #1’ – Richard Diebenkorn (1963)

This is an oil painting on canvas by Diebenkorn which features a view of a rural area which is quite flat but the colours and shapes used work well to pull in the viewer. I like that this painting is quite simple yet it is still easy it identify what the painting is of. I especially like the way that other colours show through in sections creating little subtleties that makes the eye look at all of the piece in a rhythmic sense.

‘View from a Porch’ – Richard Diebenkorn (1959)

This oil painting by Richard Diebenkorn uses a darker colour palette and has a much different technique and texture to ‘Cityscape #1’ which I like. This painting reminds me of an oil pastel drawing through the scratchy elements and I really like the ways the warm and cold colours work together to create a really interesting composition. I feel that the colours effectively portray the light on each part of the scene, with the shadows in the darker areas and the sunlight on the warmer areas, as well as portraying what materials were in each section. Again, the different elements aren’t just solid colours and are built up of several layers which is realistic, a surprise from an abstract painting.

Information I got from video above:

What an artist does is all about what’s around it, what’s his environment culture, physical, visual. Wandering through the countryside of California Sonoma County, he appears every bit the outdoorsman. I used to think I was really a landscape artist. I think I revise that little bit he is in fact a recent arrival from the big city who has come to this land of colour and quiet to paint to paint the quiet colourful words that have made him famous. He is Richard Diebenkorn, a master of contemporary American art. I think it’s hard for an artist to see to see himself really, I’m aware of a predisposition to sparing this or our aloneness is something I value. Right now, his sense of aloneness extends well beyond the canvas in an age of publicity hungry artists Richard Diebenkorn has always felt uncomfortable in the spotlight, the solitude of the studio suits him well. For years, his working procedure has been the same, to sit and contemplate a canvas sometimes for hours before ever picking up a brush, pieces must go through several sessions. “I never seem to be able to get anything one shot right off, sometimes I get sort of rooted to the to the chair and then sometimes I think well you know I can’t just sit here, I’m going to do something so then I’ll be really rather arbitrary the feeling you feel like you’re wasting time or sometimes yeah it’ll intends going by the pound you describe it in its current state possibly almost finished but to those are kind of famous last words almost finished and I’ve said that about pieces and found my still self still working on them a year later”. Nearly 50 years of it includes early abstract paintings a period during the 50s and 60s when he turned to landscape to still life a human figure and in the last 25 years, the series of serene geometric abstracts that sealed his reputation the ocean park series named for the area in Santa Monica in Southern California where his studio was. It was a place that inspired many of his greatest works, but the pressures of the Los Angeles area began to intrude too much on this most solitary of men in the last year. “I felt each time I went out in the in the car to West Los Angeles for errands or whatever every trip I made it was that much worse I felt that it was I was more hemmed in, more closed in on. The traffic was heavier that shows you something about how high the water was but I am so it was that deep in corn came to the Russian River of Northern California where his dogs Amy and Lucy can run free and where the River itself attracts him again then again do you ever sing a scene like this say alright now I’m just going to go back to representational painting one time just to get this for sure pencelli yeah, I just thought I was down here with Amy several days ago and I thought well next time I come down I’ll bring sketch pad number like draw Richard I’m going to I guess in the 50s when I was doing abstract painting I thought well to do representational stuff is just beyond the pale when the artists ability seriousness is sensibility simply couldn’t do that you know it was so this sort of mindset that for a set of reasons when had and now I am most artists don’t have that mindset. So, if you see something out there that earns you one, well it’s subject. I feel subjects working one measure of demon court standing in the art world this current display of his drawings at the Museum of Modern art in New York another the recent sale of a Diebenkorn painting for $1.2 million which puts him in a very select club of living American artists whose works command such prices. His friend and this exhibits curator John Elderfield said,  “for me he is a very important artist,  he had managed both to be pioneering and to remind one in this work of another great Masters of the past and to reinvent their message for new generations a sort of reimagining of Matty’s of Cezanne or even earlier artists who he admires very deeply got a bit more chaotic all the analysis.” Richard Diebenkorn marvels just like the rest of us at the mystery of how art comes to be created, each of his works a road map of its own making with changes on second thoughts right there on the canvas for anyone to see there’s a trial and error and the budding one’s head against the wall and I might say it’s alright except for one little corner and so I changed that little corner and then that all his other parts and pretty soon then back into it and then maybe it changes completely the aim is not what we might call finish in a conventional way because some of the words look unfinished but rather having fought that fight to his satisfaction and when he feels somehow that his work that out then he can leave it alone.

How Richard Diebenkorn’s work is influencing my project:

The number one element which drew me into Richard Diebenkorn’s work was the way he used shapes to build up a composition as I found his technique really unique and a focus that I could take into my drawings and even paintings. When it comes to his application of colour, I especially like the fact that the colours aren’t fully opaque, they are all transparent in areas which allows other colours to show through. For instance you can sometimes see yellow peeking through green for the fields which is something I explored in my first term and have continued to this term as no colour is fully opaque, even if it looks it. I find this interesting as although I could do things in a really cartoonish way, I want to maintain a sense of realism so it doesn’t all go to fantasy.

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