The State of Ataraxia: Richard Pousette-Dart

richard pousette_Dart pace galleryExhibition covering works based on geometric imagery by Abstract Expressionist artist, Richard Pousette-Dart, is now on display at the Pace Gallery. Pousette-Dart(1916-1992) was an American artist and one of the youngest leaders of the abstract expressionist art movement known as the New York School. The artist was part of a group of few privileged artists to have had solo presentations at four major museums in the city; the Guggenheim, the metropolitan, the Whitney and the Museum of Modern Art.richard pousette_Dart pace gallery
The exhibition features twelve paintings and ten works on paper based on geometric imagery (rectangle and circle) created by the artist during the 60s and throughout mid 80s. Pousette-Dart believed that art was a major exertion of life making the circle and square shapes a representation of cosmic forces.richard pousette_Dart pace gallery

“I strive to express the spiritual nature of the Universe. Painting for me is a dynamic balance and wholeness of life; it is mysterious and transcending, yet solid and real.” Richard Pousette-Dartrichard pousette_Dart pace gallery

During the 1960s, Pousette-Dart began to work on the creation of grand size paintings utilizing the impasto technique, by combining layers of thickly applied paint over the canvas. This allowed traces of the brush strokes to be easily noticeable. The artist also used the pointillism method, a technique developed by impressionist artist George Seurat and Paul Signa.richard pousette_Dart pace galleryFrom afar your eyes would only notice a composition of perfectly aligned contrasting shapes on canvas, but once up close you will see the different textures and hidden colors you weren’t aware of. This can symbolize a juxtaposition among two emotional mindsets; the calm and balanced with the fragile and chaotic.richard pousette_Dart pace galleryI almost felt as if I was entering a state of ataraxia with many of these paintings, especially his 1969 painting, presence #3 in the main front section of the gallery. The painting makes you feel as if you were one of those particles in the painting, pulled in by an invisible magnet to the nucleus of the canvas.richard pousette_Dart pace galleryUp close you are able to see residues of color that have been over powered by the monochromatic duo of black and white impasto technique (almost un-noticeable from afar). His work is often recognized for its strong relation to spiritual being, even though the artist never admitted to having any affiliation to a religious group.richard pousette_Dart pace galleryIn online video footage from a presentation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Pousette-Dart is shown reading excerpts from his art journal; where he explained that every painting was like a new birth and experience to him. He worked continuously on a single painting, adding up 30 or more layers of paint in several shades, lines and strokes. Even though the vivid colors he once started working with have been covered by layers of white paint, the effort of their participation was not a waste, they always enriched the canvas.richard pousette_Dart pace galleryHe frequented the American Museum of Natural History to gain further knowledge of the spiritual aspects of African, Native American, & Oceanic art. These interests set him apart from his contemporary peers.richard pousette_Dart pace gallery Pousette-Dart began experimenting with abstraction by drawing animal shapes, which soon evolved into a more thorough research of working with textural three-dimensional surfaces and vivid coloring.richard pousette_Dart pace galleryThe majority of his 70’s and 80’s work consisted of large geometric shapes used as focal points, working themselves into a balance of harmony and meditation.richard pousette_Dart pace gallery Pousette-Dart experimented with vivid powerful colors aside from his black and white color scheme. Red has always been a strong commanding color. A symbol for passion, love, pain as Louise Bourgeois once described it, and often associated with sacrifice, danger and courage.richard pousette_Dart pace gallery“Creative people are the real saviors of the world…anyone who has a passion for wholeness, because I think this is the only thing that has healing and it’s an answer to violence and war” Richard Pousette-Dartrichard pousette_Dart pace gallery

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog composed of excerpts from the artist’s journal, essays written by art critic Alex Bacon, & write ups from Robert Hobbs, Sam Hunter, Carter Ratcliff, Barbara Rose, Philip Rylands, Martica Sawin, Lowery Stokes Sims and Robert Storr.

The perfect way to Zen out and get away from all the chaos of the holidays.

The Exhibition will be on view at the 510 West 25th street location, till January 10, 2015

Photos by: Aesthetnik


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