Discovering the work of Jules Olitski has been truly inspirational and interesting to me for many reasons.
The work is about colour and light. It has a haunting, ethereal luminosity achieved through the application of paint with a spray gun. The paintings possess a glow through and celebrate purity of colour. Although the purely aesthetic quality of colour is the only subject matter to me the work has a strong association with landscape and in particular Turners most intense sunsets.
Scale is of great importance to the intensity of the viewer experience of these paintings. “Size guarantees the purity as well as the intensity needed to suggest indeterminate space: more blue simply being bluer than less blue.” Clement Greenburg
Olitski statement for the 1966 Venice Biennale, ‘Painting In Colour’: ‘When the conception of internal form is governed by edge, color … appears to remain on or above the surface. I think, on the contrary, of colour as being seen in and throughout, not solely on, the surface’.
Olitski said he would prefer ‘nothing but some colours sprayed into the air and staying there.’ The appeal of his paintings for me is that they have the feel of a cloud of intense atoms of colour suspended in front of your eyes.
“Because the seeing of the surface is tied to the perception of a kind of color which so opens and expands that surface toward the viewer that it might be characterized as foreshortened, the very seeing of the painting in all its literalness poses a question about where the surface is. To see Olitski’s color means to see the surface itself as elusive and unaligned. Rosalind Krauss