Fri, 09/21/2012 - 5:00pm
Jules Olitski: On an Intimate Scale
Where |George Washington University
Luther Brady Art Gallery
About This Event
This fall, three institutions are celebrating the art of Jules Olitski (1922-2007). Olitski, Kenneth Noland, Morris Louis and the British sculptor Anthony Caro were brought into public prominence by art critic Clement Greenberg, who coined the term "post-painterly abstraction." Olitski was a close friend and neighbor of Noland's, when Olitski taught at Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont, and Noland lived nearby. In the 1960s Olitski generally shared with Noland, and other members of the Washington Color School, an approach to painting in which the canvas is covered with pure areas of color, characterized, as well, by experimentation with color and pigments. Olitski applied the paint by staining, then spraying, and later used unconventional tools such as brooms, mops, and leaf blowers, among other things. His richly diverse surfaces diffused color and light, often with rich variations in texture.
Olitski's "bumper" years in Washington were 1966-67 when he won the gold medal at the Corcoran Biennial and had his first museum exhibition of abstract paintings at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1967. Writing about the Corcoran Gallery exhibition of 1967, Andrew Hudson, an art critic in Washington, D.C., wrote "...Olitski has been able to maintain the quality of his work while experimenting in things that one would expect to turn out "wrong"...the expansion of his vision and of the possibilities of painting that his recent work offers has effected an expansion in my way of looking."
The Luther W. Brady Art Gallery hosted Jules Olitski: Works on Paper, in 2006, one of the last exhibitions of Olitski's work prior to his death. A poignant testimony to the artist's creative longevity, a friendship grew with the Olitski family, which led to a second exhibition in 2009, Jules Olitski: An Inside View, A Survey of Prints 1954 - 2007 organized by the Brattleboro Museum.
This third exhibition of work by Jules Olitski at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery is aptly timed to coincide with Revelation: Major Paintings by Jules Olitski, a traveling exhibition, on display at the Katzen Arts Center, American University, September 15 - December 16, 2012. Both are retrospective exhibitions, as they provide an overview by decade of Olitski's paintings.
In contrast to Olitski's large and immersive canvases in the Katzen Arts Center exhibition, the works in the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery demonstrate the artist's ability to work at intimate scale, without any lessening of powerful impact.