Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Joan Mitchell

I "found" the Abstract Expressionists just a few years ago and can't think how I missed them. Everyone knew about Jackson Pollock but he was only the tip of the ice berg in my opinion.

A few years ago I read a book about Joan Mitchell titled "Joan Mitchell". It is a lovely book full of her paintings and story of her life and career. Why I am drawn to her paintings is a mystery to me. I even tried to duplicate one of what I thought was one of her more simple paintings. What a waste of time! It is so much more difficult than I ever imagined. Which isn't at all unusual when you consider the subject. 

Shortly after reading the book I went to the Portland Art Museum to see the current show which I've forgotten the title of now. People in the local area often loan their paintings to the museum for various time periods so if you go you will see things you didn't expect to see. As I was walking through a hallway on the the way to the museum shop I saw two large paintings on the wall and stopped to look at them because they were so beautiful. Well, they were two paintings by Joan Mitchell, very large, about 8 by 10 feet. Seeing the same painting from a book and on the wall, in real life front of you, is a transcendent experience to say the least. I stood there for a long time and just vibrated internally. I imagine that from the outside I looked normal. Inside I was jumping up and down and yelling. I'll never forget the experience.

Here is a recent short article about her from the the New Yorker magazine.

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