Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 52: Passing into another dimension

Tin Lizzie Green, Jules Olitski, 1964

This painting is magic. I was fortunate enough to see it last spring at the Smithsonsian American Art Museum in the exhibition Color As Field.

The grainy surface Olitski creates with his way of spraying is a new kind of paint surface. It offers tactile associations hitherto foreign, more or less, to picture-making; and it does new things with color. Together with color, it contrives an illusion of depth that somehow extrudes all suggestions of depth back to the picture's surface; it is as if that surface, in all its literalness, were enlarged to contain a world of color and light differentiations impossible to flatness but which yet manage not to violate flatness. This in itself constitutes no artistic virtue; what makes it that-- what makes Olitski's paint surface a factor in the creation of major art--is the way in which one of the profoundest pictorial imaginations of this time speaks through it.
text by Clement Greenberg, introducing Jules's contribution to the Thirty-third Venice Biennale in 1966. Reprinted in Fields of vision: Michael Fried on Jules Olitski, ArtForum April, 2007

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