Both volumes feature selections from a vast trove of works on paper by Diebenkorn. Hager writes that "Like the works on paper they reproduce these books offer an intimate and spontaneous experience... Other than a few quotes from Diebenkorn and a biography, these volumes contain no commentary. We are free to form our own interpretations of the work, unencumbered by the flights of grandiose and sometimes tedious rhetoric that often accompany exhibit catalogs."
Burgard comments that the merging of asbstraction and figuration "is one of [Diebenkorn's] great accomplishments... most beautifully in the Berkeley period, he solved the problem of abstraction versus figuration by instead of saying either/or, to fuse them together, and in doing to endow something that's ostensibly abstract and inert with a human life and vitality." Burgard also speaks about de Kooning's influence on Diebenkorn noting that "deKooning moving from abstraction to figuration... that gives Diebenkorn the license and permission to consider that option as well. I think the sequential series of paintings, already in 1953 in one of the earliest paintings in the series Berkeley #3, he's already dealing with these supposedly opposing forces and reconciling them in a really extraordinary way."
Barlow notes that a "facet of this work and this artist that is important to not overlook is what Ocean Park has come to say about Diebenkorn himself. He had a dogged commitment to his own vision of things. He wasn’t belligerent or a contrarian, but he stubbornly followed his own path. In a filmed interview that accompanies the show, Diebenkorn answers a question about who the audience for his work is by stating, 'I paint for an 'ideal viewer.' ' After a brief pause he wryly added, 'And that ideal viewer just may be me.' "
Tyler Green talks to curator Sarah Bancroft and conservator Ana Alba about the exhibition Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series, on view at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. from June 30 - September 23, 2012.
Bancroft notes that the Corcoran exhibit includes both Ocean Park #6 and Ocean Park #11, the "earliest paintings in the series, the first five were destroyed or put away…[by the artist]... they're both much more biomorphic and organic… they have a stronger relationship to his figurative work."
Bancroft also discusses an interesting commission Diebenkorn completed: documenting water reclammation projects in Arizona. She notes that "[Diebenkorn] often commented about the idea of process in the land, and seeing this history of what had happened, whether it be tilling or scarring or working the land, and he wanted to get that idea into his work… the history of the making of the painting is the painting. It's that idea of topography, of process… rather than obliterating the history of his compositional expression over time, allowing you to really see it…"
Matthew Ballou looks at Richard Diebenkorn's Ocean Park paintings through the lens of "provisional painting."
Ballou writes that "To get a clear view of Diebenkorn's connection with provisionality one must think about the sense of compositional balance exemplified in the Ocean Park Series. It is a balance that is hard-won yet still teetering on the edge of disarray. Though the works are in some ways locked, they flicker and undulate; these are compositions that don’t always feel as if rightness was absolutely achieved."
Gibbons writes: "The interplay of cultivation and erasure that [Dibenkorn] discerned from his bird's-eye perch offers one way to grasp Diebenkorn's later abstractions, which often evoke the sensation of being suspended from a great height, gazing down into a parceled landscape or landscape analogue. Inviting yet austere, these spacious canvases suggest the earth’s palimpsest when seen from above: flat and smoothed out, but layered with spectral traces of what’s been worn down, scraped away, superseded but not yet obliterated."
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.