Ocean Park #79, 1975
Oil on canvas
93 x 81 in. (236.2 x 205.7 cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and with funds contributed by private donors, 1977
©The Estate of Richard Diebenkorn
Image courtesy The Estate of Richard Diebenkorn
Richard Diebenkorn was a teacher at the California School of Fine Arts. I am including him here on this page about collage, because of Mr. Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series, a wonderful collection of work that is abstract in subject, but the abstractions in his work relate to one another on the canvas in shape and color, and in turn, relate to the larger series of work. This is quoted from The Art Story website:
Along with the friends he had made at various teaching positions, including David Park, Diebenkorn became a central member of the Bay Area Figurative Movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which rejected Abstract Expressionism in favor of a return to figural representation. Apparently, the freedom of gesture and composition in his Abstract Expressionist period was ultimately not to his liking. Eventually, however, Diebenkorn came to strike a balance between the use of abstract and figural elements in his work. His Ocean Park series, for example, consisting of one hundred and forty paintings made over twenty-five years until his death in 1993, catapulted the mature artist into the national spotlight. These paintings are clearly abstract, but in a much more geometric and planned way than his Abstract Expressionist works of the 1950s. If both his Abstract Expressionist paintings and his Ocean Park series represent aerial landscapes, the former are intuitive and impulsive while the latter are coldly delineated rational spaces. A comparison of the two shows just how far Diebenkorn’s abstract vocabulary had evolved throughout his career.
Here are more paintings from the Ocean Park Series.
Diebenkorn’s work in this series reminds me of flags of one kind or another. The colors are sophisticated and subtle – not anything like real flags that rely on primary colors to convey messages of power and strength. Maybe we’ll look at Robert Rauschenberg next, another abstract artist who made collages as well.