Philip Guston

Philip Guston  Red Sea  1975

“The spatial dynamics of Guston's paintings are elemental and organic in their permutations. Usually the scene is set by a simple horizontal division of the canvas, each half dominated by a single hue—most often blue or black opposite red or roseate grays—and the resulting space is almost closed off by the density of pigment and color. Although Guston's paintings, like Rothko's late work, are frontal and expansive in design, their atmosphere is, by contrast, heavy and airless. Emphatically earth-bound, they instill claustrophobia rather than intimate transcen­dence. Their topography consists of barren embankments that press forward like landslides against the picture plane, encroaching upon the viewer's space while seeming to forbid any escape for the figures that languish half-embedded in them. Thus, Guston's work recalls the somber, denuded landscapes of Goya's Black Paintings.”
                                                                                                  Robert Storr

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