Like half of New England, in the summer I book some time in Maine. This summer while there I made a detour to the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland. The Museum is known for the large number of Wyeth‘s — all three generations — that it has on display. In a separate building that was once a church, one can worship at the feet of N. C. Wyeth, which, I expect, is exactly as he would have liked it. But I went to the Farnsworth to see the Alex Katz exhibition.
Here is what I love about Katz;
I love the quintessential nature of his work. How, in a few spare lines, he can convey the essence of something.
His observations of nature are spot on. In a few strokes he conveys the color, shape, light and atmosphere of the moment.
I love the scale of his work — often large enough to allow you to feel enveloped by it.
I love the way he handles paint. The museum ran a video of him painting a large winter scene with a portrait of his wife, Ada, in the center. He applies the paint with large brushes in such a way that you can feel it going on. In the film his table is covered with hundreds of brushes. Some of the brushes he says he uses once and then never uses again. It is the connection of vision with the feel of the materials that I admire.
Meet Alex Katz -this is a video of Katz in his studio.
He is a truth teller. In this show there are several paintings of lilies. One of the things I found so striking in observing lilies over time is how frequently the water around them seemed absolutely black.
I am always happy to take a detour to see Katz’ work.
Books of Interest: