The Art of Joan Mitchell

Molly Warnock at Artforum:

THE CANVAS IS LARGE, standing more than seven feet tall and six feet wide. Painted on a white ground, the composition reveals numerous areas in which white paint has been energetically brushed over marks in other colors, progressively editing a roiling chaos of gestures down to a sparer, more defined structure with several especially prominent elements. In the upper register, just left of center, overlapping brushstrokes in shades of red, black, blue-green, and yellow combine to form a thick vertical line, as if marking out the operative axis. Just below this upright element, there appears a dense flurry of multicolored gestures. Clustered in a roughly horizontal zone, this array tapers to either side but is both extended and visually weighted toward the right. Also on the right, a bit farther down, dozens of brushstrokes have again been layered one atop the other, creating a diagonal band. At the very bottom of the picture, yet another cluster of predominantly oblique gestures form a rough wedge, drawing the eye to the lower right. The artist has signed her first initial and last name: J. MITCHELL.

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