Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Patchwork ABQuilt

Diebenkorn in New Mexico

Richard Diebenkorn left “the School,” or California, probably sensing the tensions. He came to Albuquerque; no, he did not miss the ocean, since the big sky replace the sea.

On his first single-engine plane ride, he observed the world as a patchwork of quilted landscapes. The pilot dipped into the Grand Canyon, and this established the abstract artist’s sense of scope and magnitude.

A California art-scene couple, the Kaplans, brought a lot of his ABQ work back home, shopped it around and eventually used his work as a basis for their own gallery.

Diebenkorn moved around with his wife and two kids. Never having much money during this most creative times, he learned to drive a taxi. A teaching assignment enabled him to skip that side-job. He forged his way into academia, enduring other professors’ scorn because his work was so out there.

Regarding titles as limiting, most of his work is untitled. Rolls of canvas were lost during moves. He had stored many on an in-law’s property that mysteriously disappeared when the property was sold. The artist was so prolific that many documented works are now notated “whereabouts unknown.”

Scour yard sales in New Mexico, and perhaps you’ll luck upon a Diebenkorn original.

- Posted by Kevin Tierney

On view at the Phillips concurrent with Brett Weston: Out of the Shadow. See gallery details in Robin’s “Silver” post that follows.