Saturday 23 July 2011

Kenneth Noland

Kenneth Noland (1924 –2010) was an important exponent of colour field painting. He was born in Asheville, North Carolina. A veteran of World War II Noland took advantage of the G.I. Bill to study art at Black Mountain College in his home state of North Carolina where he studied under Ilya Bolotowsky, a professor who introduced him to Neo-plasticism and the work of Piet Mondrian.
Noland also studied Bauhaus theory and colour under Josef Albers, and he became interested in Paul Klee.

In 1948 – 1949 Noland worked with Ossip Zadkine in Paris, and had his first exhibition of paintings there. In the early 1950s he met Morris Louis in Washington DC. He became friends with Louis, and after being introduced by Clement Greenberg to Helen Frankenthaler and seeing her new paintings at her studio in New York in 1953 he and Louis adopted her “soak-stain” technique of allowing thinned paint to soak into unprimed canvases.

In 1949 he had his first solo exhibition: Kenneth Noland, at the Galerie Creuze, in Paris. In 1957 he had the first solo exhibition of his paintings in New York at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery.
Most of Noland's paintings fall into one of four groups: circles or targets, chevrons, stripes, and shaped canvases. His preoccupation with the relationship of the image to the containing edge of the picture led him to a series of studies of concentric rings like the one reproduced here called Beginning from 1958 using unlikely colour combinations.

1958 Beginning

In 1964 he was included in the exhibition Post-Painterly Abstraction which travelled the country and helped to firmly establish Colour Field painting as an important new movement in the contemporary art of the 1960s.

Noland pioneered the shaped canvas, initially with a series of symmetrical and asymmetrical diamonds or chevrons. In these paintings, the edges of the canvas become as structurally important as the center. During the 1970s and 1980s his shaped canvases were highly irregular and asymmetrical.

1975 Burnt Beige

In 1964 Noland occupied half the American pavilion at the Venice Biennale. In 1965 his work was exhibited at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art and the Jewish Museum in New York. He had the final solo exhibition of his lifetime Kenneth Noland Shaped Paintings 1981-82 in 2009 at the Leslie Feely Fine Art Gallery in New York. Noland died in 2010.

1958 Askew

1958 Ex-Nihilio

1958 Heat

1959 Split

1960 Back to Front

1960 Play

1961 Highlights

1963 Cadmium Radiance

1963 East-West

1967 Stria

1969 Pan

1970 Royal Draw

1973 Interlock Colour

1973 Under Colour

1984 Songs: Remembering

1985 Snow and Ice

1989 Doors: Time Ahead

1999 Refresh

2000 Mysteries: Afloat

2000 Untitled (Target) oil on off-set lithograph on paper

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