Jeff Edwards talks to painter Ed Clark about his work and 60 year painting career.
Clark recounts his time painting in Paris on the G.I. Bill, where he was influenced by Nicolas de Staël's work ("the presence of it, up front, the surface"), as well his return to New York where he helped form Brata Gallery. "When I was still in Paris," Clark recalls, "George Sugarman wrote to me from New York and said, 'Why don’t you come? Things are happening here.' When I got there with my friend Sal Romano, we had a meeting with a few other people and decided to form Brata. There were a lot of my friends from Paris around-George, Al Held and some others. The pendulum had swung in New York, and that was the first time they had co-ops, when all the galleries opened on Tenth Street. They decided at one point to make all of them open at the same time. No one had ever done that before. You couldn’t get down the street, it was so crowded: rich people, poor people, everything."
Paul Behnke photoblogs the recent exhibition The Lure of Paris at Loretta Howard Gallery, New York. The show highlights the lesser known influence of Paris on mid-century American artists and features work by Biala, Norman Bluhm, Ed Clark, Harold Cousins, Beauford Delaney, Sam Francis, Shirley Goldfarb, Cleve Gray, Al Held, Shirley Jaffe, Conrad Marca-Relli, Joan Mitchell, Jules Olitski, Milton Resnick, Jean-Paul Riopelle, George Sugarman, and Jack Youngerman.
Sol Ostrow writes in the catalogue: "In the 1950s, with the triumph of the New York School, the United States for the first time in history had produced visual art of international consequence. Yet, artists from the United States and from all over Europe continued to flock to Paris just as the center of the western art world was shifting to New York... Their reasons varied. Some saw it as an opportunity to be cosmopolitan or to satisfy their wanderlust; others may have imagined the Paris of Le Jazz Hot, café society, and the romance of the pre-war avant-garde, or the chance to see works by Vuillard, Bonnard, Matisse, etc., that they knew only from black and white reproductions. In most cases the women artists had accompanied their significant others, while like the generation before them, the Afro-American artists, sought to escape the racism that was endemic in the States."
In the Lure of Paris Halasz finds Jules Olitski and Ed Clark to be standouts. She writes: "Olitski seems to have been one of the few Americans actually looking at the better postwar French painters practicing the French equivalents to American abstract expressionism known as tachisme or l’art informel..." Halasz continues: "[Clark] is... known for having painted with push brooms instead of brushes... [his painting] benefits from the use of large, sweepingly simple forms and clear, vigorous colors, wisely limited & separated from each other -- much livelier than the blackened, bush-like center in the Joan Mitchell on display, or the muddy, overdone creation of Al Held."
The Lure of Paris provides a fitting backdrop for Halasz to view a show of new paintings by Carolanna Parlato: "[Parlato's] intuitive color sense is one of the strong points of the current show... Also, her paint is a lot thinner than the hallmark smears of the 50s, sometimes transparent in fact, when an almost dry brush appears to have been stroked across the canvas, depositing only hair-like lines of paint, as opposed to solid areas, and allowing the complimentary undercoat to shine through. Finally, at its best her organization is a lot stronger than most of the tyros at work in 'The Lure of Paris.' "
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.