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Works by Richard Diebenkorn and David Park
Dec 21 — Jan 30, 2021
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Hackett Mill is featuring works by Richard Diebenkorn and David Park.
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More than a study in portraiture, the paintings of these heads are significant for their access to the mind and hand of the artist. These head paintings are revelatory in a manner like a life drawing where the mark makings become a map of the artist’s impulse. Both painters embarked on the simultaneous exploration of paint and self-identity. It is not a surprise that the subject of the head, closely cropped in a small format, was so often chosen by Richard Diebenkorn and David Park because it provided an architecture that immediately composed the picture plane into flat patterns where the integrity of their painterly investigations could be memorialized.
Although intimate in scale, the confident command, risk taking, and improvisation evidenced throughout the painting is significant. Note how Diebenkorn maintains a similar gauge of brush and a consistent pace throughout every part of the painting. The areas of detail are handled with the same gusto and bravado as in the more broad expanses. Diebenkorn paints directly into wet paint passages, indicative of a high level of spontaneity, and he likely created the direct contours defining the woman’s head from the back end of the brush. This is exactly why the end result that we see now is not a preconceived composition but rather a discovered one through a painting process that the artist allowed to happen.
Detail (above): Woman’s Head, Blue Background, 1963
oil on wood, 14.25 x 10.75 inches
Detail (below): Man’s Head, 1958
oil on wood, 5.75 x 9 inches