Helen Frankenthaler’s Colorful Legacy

frankenla-1473961775-snap-photoHelen Frankenthaler’s canvases bare only the sheerest layers of color and paint. Yet with these works the artist straddled two of the most important artistic movements of the 20th century. A curator reminds us in the L.A. Times: She first achieved renown as one of the few female Abstract Expressionists — that rowdy boys club symbolically spearheaded by Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. But her innovations with paint — she would often pour thinned paint onto unprimed canvases for work that felt liquid and lush — went on to inspire Color Field artists, who weren’t so much interested in using paint as a tool of expression, but in the ways color could be rendered on canvas. (Her 1952 painting, “Mountains and Sea,” was a turning point in this direction.) Now a new exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills explores some of her later works, from the 1960s to the ’80s (she passed away in 2011), works where the painter was exploring the division between drawing and painting.

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