Of all the Morris Louis works out there, this one is the most powerful, and frankly, terrifying. It is an Ambi, instead of his allowing the thinned paint to slide down in one direction, here it goes in two directions towards the centre, but that is not what's the scary thing here. The scary thing is that the outermost coating is black, as if they are teeth closing, holding us in the mouth, preparing to chew us to oblivion.
I feel as if the colours, the blues, yellows, red, greens, they are living on the outside, as if they were being used to draw us towards them, to allow us to be chomped upon. It is a terrifying work, and certainly my favorite Louis work in any museum.
This is a form of Abstract Impressionism. It is the form, or forms, that are recogniseable, while being removed from their context, rearranged, weirded as far as I'm concerned. The effect is one of a whole that is not the sum of its parts, but the grand total of the impression it makes upon the viewer and the canvas.
That's right, the canvas matters.
In fact, this is an anti-deKooning. deKooning tried to create a recogniseable image in his women, but here, it is the recognition of portions that do not form a whole, or at least that do not form a Nude in Environment.
hI am 100% certain that there is great depth to this piece, that it is making many statements about meaning within the context of artistry, about only understanding a portion of anything that is in front of you because unless you look deeper, you're only getting a tiny fraction, about the inpermanence of what we see as opposed to the mass that is hidden from us. I am sure all these things exist, but for the most part, I do not experience them through this one.
Because it is too calming.
Perhaps it is the transluscence of the blue, of the calming aspect of the shape, but staring at this, as I often have, no matter how ragged I may feel going towards it, leaving it behind, I am smoother, softer, less harried.
Pop Art is not well-represented in the Anderson at the moment. You can look at California Funk as a sub-movement, but straight-up Pop Art? Nah. Wayne Thiebaud is either a Pop Artist, or a realist who simply representing common food objects.
Fuck that. He's a Pop Artist.
The thing about Pop from where I sit is a feeling. It is the feeling that the world of today is a set stage, and the Pop Artists were merely capturing it with all the realism their technique could muster. This is EXACTLY that. Completely. Totally. Thiebaud's Candy Counter is Pop Art, without utilizing what would become known as Pop Art techniques. The painting is realist, closer-related to Thomas Hart Benton and Paul Cadmus than Rauschenberg or Lichtenstein, but it feels like it is capturing a moment that exists, real for a certain location and time and kind of shop, but that is also as artificial as the moment captured is as composed as the painting that Thiebaud has created.
Christopher J Garcia - Curator, Fan Writer, Podcaster, and a guy who just loves art.