I just discovered Tyler Green's Modern Art Notes (an Arts Journal blog) & wanted to recommend it to anyone with an interest in contemporary visual arts. I found Green's blog because I had begun checking out Arts Journal after finding that cultural critic & book reviewer Scott McLemee's blog Quick Study was hosted there. McLemee, who writes a regular column for Inside Higher Ed, is the most tuned-in and clear-thinking critic I have come across in a long time. So I was scanning the Arts Journal main page and saw a reference to Richard Diebenkorn, my favorite 20th century American artist. Naturally, I clicked through. Green's meditation / explanation of Ocean Part No. 38 illuminates the painting's structure & speculates interestingly about Diebenkorn's process. I've spent a good deal of time looking at & thinking about Richard Diebenkorn's paintings since I first came across them in an art magazine -- probably
Artforum Art in America -- in the 1970s. [Checked Artforum's online archive without finding a Diebenkorn feature that early; Art in America does not appear to have online archives. --jd] I saw the LA Art Museum's huge Diebenkorn retrospective in the late 1980s & I seek out individual works when I leave my rural enclave for a big city with a contemporary art museum. I especially like the smaller cigar box lid paintings & sketches -- I have Dore Ashton's monograph on these exquisite works. I also have the big book of Diebenkorn's paintings, along with a couple of other monographs & have written a couple of poems that borrow from the Ocean Park series in general -- both poems are written in the same syllabic form & embedded in a long series called Island Universe that I have been working on for many years. I probably got the idea of the sequence as a structural process from John Berryman & Richard Diebenkorn at about the same point in my youthful development. The work always amazes me. And amazement is what I want from art: to turn away changed.
Well, what I've written above turns out to be about my love for the Diebenkorn Ocean Park paintings; if you want to read someone actually discussing the paintings, you should click through to Tyler Green's site. He makes the connection between Diebenkorn & Matisse that others have made -- in particular to Matisse's View of Notre Dame (1914) with its strong diagonals, but Green brings an informed enthusiasm to the work that underwrites his analysis.