Celebrating the abstract
Considered a diverse and talented post-war painter in his native United States, Richard Diebenkorn’s art takes viewers on a journey from abstractionism to figuration and then back again. His exhibition is currently on display at the Royal Academy of Arts until 7 June.
The gallery is divided into three distinct periods of Diebenkorn’s career: his early abstract work, his figuration work, and then his popular Ocean Park series. Diebenkorn’s work focuses on areas in California and other parts of the States where he resided throughout his career. This current exhibition is a unique display that shows, for the first time, some of Diebenkorn’s paper works alongside his small and largescale paintings on canvas.
Although Diebenkorn’s work is impressive, with its range of sizes and subjects, this exhibition is aimed at those who enjoy abstractionism. His colour palettes are fascinating and draw the viewer into the piece, but would not be fully appreciated by all.
The paintings reveal the colours of what he is representing without delving further into the details while still capturing the essence of the setting. This gives attendees a more active role in the viewing process, allowing them to determine the more specific aspects of the paintings for themselves. Diebenkorn has a tendency to leave his pencil marks on display; therefore revealing to the viewer the long and often trying process that it took to get the finished products that they see before them. Even in his figuration works, Diebenkorn avoids depicting his subjects with too much detail.
While his work is well known in the States, with his paintings being found in most major US collections and even in President Obama’s personal quarters in the White House; he is not as widely exhibited in Europe. His only major solo show was in 1991 at the Whitechapel Gallery.
Admission to the exhibition is £11.50 (£10 excluding donation); concessions are available; children under 16 and Friends of the RA go free. There are a series of events revolving around the exhibition including gallery talks that are with an exhibition ticket. From 17 March to 29 May there will be 45minute introductory exhibition tours 2.30pm Tuesdays and 7pm Fridays. There will also be 10-minute spotlight talks on individual works 3pm on Thursdays.