Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Willem de Kooning

So artists and art critics have been drooling over abstract expressionist Willem deKooning's work for the better half of the last century, and for good reason. The guy painted for over 70 years, and produced a huge body of diverse work, including paintings, drawings, and some particularly lumpy sculptures. But, most of what can be said about his work has already been addressed, either in hours of boring modern art lectures, or in the pompous overwrought musings of internet art nerds (myself not included...ha..ha..) Today, however, I'm not going to talk about his now oh-so-overdone style of action painting, or what his nudes have to say about the condition of women, or how he redefined art through a child-like perspective. What I find interesting about de Kooning's work is much more basic, and to all you aspiring artists out there, much more utilitarian--Color. As many comic book colorists, painters, and graphic designers will attest, figuring out which colors work well together to create a unified image that is pleasing to the eye is no easy task. There have been entire classes and textbooks written on the topic of color theory, and even then, knowing what color to paint a black cat is in the dark, or what the reflection of television light does to the color of fabric can seem almost impossible. De Kooning's work, however, shows a beautiful innate understanding of light and color, to the point where the nature and subjects of his abstractions are rendered inconsequential. Few artists can use color alone to impress mood or atmosphere upon a piece, but de Kooning delivers every time-- invoking feelings of claustrophobia, leisurely ease, or untold femininity without having to beat you over the head with a graphical representation. This alone makes de Kooning's works stand out in the world of abstract art, and makes each of his pieces an interesting study for those that wish to follow in his colorist wake.

All of these images are property of the Willem deKooning estate.
Currently, de Kooning's work is on display at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
in New York. For more images, and how to go see them, check out their website: