Friday, August 23, 2013

Diebenkorn - 'killing two birds with one stone'

Richard Diebenkorn, Cityscape 1  1963

I have always liked these paintings of Diebenkorn that seem to bridge the gap between figurative and  abstract painting 'killing two birds with one stone'. 

How evocative of a specific time and place are the sun-bleached reflective whites and the long shadows stretching across the road, cast by the geometric shapes of building on the left, the vertiginous view point, foreshortening and sense of perspectival space and distance cut off suddenly by the the rise and fall of the hill (who knows what further vistas lie just out of sight) and the flat blocks of colour and tone made up from the positive and negative shapes and spaces of and between the roads, fields and roof tops, the vertical progression of the road pinched into a waist of the converging diagonals and the broad blue horizontal of the sky closing the syncopated rhythms and opening up to an infinity of space. 

The edges of things always seem to matter especially in the later completely abstract geometric 'Ocean Park' series that still reveal through the skin of paint the architectural scaffolding of the drawing. 

Richard Diebenkorn  Ocean Park. No 67  1973 

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