Wednesday, August 20, 2008

fairfield porter

Two Fairfield Porter watercolors from the catalog to a Sept. 1985 Hirschl & Adler Modern gallery show. I guess I must've picked it up sometime in a used bookstore: $1! These are the only two watercolors in the catalog. I love them both: the high-key almost monochromatic color. And the subjects! Scenes I don't think I would see the possibilities in--the shapes, painted and un-, give both scenes a pleasing rhythmic quality.

Had to add a couple of details from Easthampton Parking Lot. I never would even try to paint a car, but that car's beautifully painted: the bare minumum. The details may also show some of Porter's process when painting--putting in darks, negative painting ... but I can't claim to know.

From the catalog:

Whenever I make a somewhat different painting someone is
likely to ask, "Is that a new direction?" They want to know what you are
planning next. But I think this question arises from the misconception that what
is interesting in painting are the ideas it expresses. Painters are
concerned with things. The most prominent things in the painter's experience are
right in front of him, like the paint on the canvas. It is better if he does not
achieve a plan, and that the painting eludes him, with a life of its own. The
painting unfolds, gradually and with difficulty, and he doesn't quite know what
it is even for quite a while after he stops painting it. Then it falls into
place for him, or it doesn't, but for another person who looks at it it may have
a peculiar character right away. So far as it has merit, a painting is a fact,
arbitrary and individual.

--Fairfield Porter 1974
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Brent Perkins said...

Skillfully crafted negative painting, nice handling of lost edges, and wonderful light effects.

Suzanne McDermott said...

Thanks for posting these. I've never seen Porter watercolors. Very much in keeping with his other paintings.

laura said...

I wish I knew, too, Brent, if Porter considered these "finished"? I guess he must have since they were exhibited ... I have to keep an open mind about what I consider "finished," and realize that there are probably many possible stopping points!

That's true Suzanne--I see it especially in the foliage shapes. It's also true of Hopper: his watercolors look just like his oils!

A Brush with Color said...

I really like those paintings--I wish I could learn to just stay minimal in my images like that. I think they make the viewer complete the image, which is always appealing to me. Thanks--I was not familiar with Porter's work. I'm going to seek our more now!


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