LEE KRASNER (1908-1984) AT BARBICAN JULY 2019
Beautiful set up and arrangement of her work, this was a fascinating exhibition showing the development and achievements of a major American painter, who also happened to be the wife of Jackson Pollock.
It is clear that she was highly motivated from the very start
First with academic teacher Job Goodman
Then won scholarship to Hans Hofmann School “push-pull” flatness and three-dimensionality Krasner started to move into abstraction
War Service Windows 20 department store windows promoting PWAP projects
She attended some of the courses and created collages of her photos blended with her own work.
1945 Little images Detailed abstractions full of intense life and detail
Mosaic wagon wheels 1947 exhibited successfully
1955 Stable Gallery exhibition
1951 Betty Parsons Gallery had shown her Geometric abstractions – no sales
In her depression she created series of black and white drawings but then ripped them up
These were layered over the B Parsons paintings as collages and then exhibited at Stable Gallery to great acclaim.
1956 Prophecy After the death of Pollock large abstractions with reference to body and figure (I think)
1957 Night Journeys
Working at night in Pollock’s old studio using just umber because she did’nt like using colour in electric light
1969 The stained hand made paper (images and description to come)
1970s Palingenesis Hard edged colour and abstraction
1974 Eleven Ways Collaging the abstract life drawings done years earlier
My personal view
I loved this exhibition for its story and the beautiful presentation.
To see how Krasner progressed from working in the classical mode to abstraction in her figure drawings, and then in the little paintings was fascinating. The Little Images and the Stable Gallery pieces I also really loved. They were such strong images and the colours and shapes so tight and right. The Little Images appear to be her breakthrough into abstract painting after years of “grey slabs” if I recall the interview properly.
Prophecy I appreciated because of its distortion of the figure Yay!!!
I liked the way her thoughts and feelings were described as background to the different series of works, and how she got stuck and then moved through, and was so engaged with the process.
She seemed to be a daunting person, quite abrasive! Quite hard to watch the interview given at the end of her life. No longer an attractive glamorous woman, but remaining an intense artist, as was her essence.
I liked the smaller works better than the huge paintings she did after Pollock’s death. Why?
In her words “You can have giant physical size with no statement on it… and.. you can have a tiny painting which is monumental in scale”
Maybe I could appreciate the earlier stages because closer to my own experience