Via Flow. 1968.
Acrylic on Canvas.
Courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Graham Gund.
Like a sunset distilled, Kenneth Noland’s thin stripes of color reach across their canvas horizon, seeming to extend into infinite space. These tones of ochre and orange punctuate the raw weave of an unprimed canvas, which adds to the painting’s immediacy— absent of artificial sheen, the composition doesn’t feel fixed or finished. Instead, light and color change before our eyes, as if in real time. He achieves this subtle modulation of color with thin acrylic paint applied as a stain. Inspired by the work of Helen Frankenthaler, this stain technique allowed artists like Noland and Stella to work with pure color, unmediated by brushstrokes. This color saturates the very fiber of the canvas, accentuating the flat surface championed by art critic Clement Greenberg. Nevertheless, Noland transcends his two dimensional medium, capturing color which emanates from within the canvas and into the space beyond.
Virginia McBride ‘15