Kenneth Noland (b. 1924, Asheville, North Carolina; d. 2010, Port Clyde, Maine) was a primary force in the development of postwar abstract art and color field painting. He attended Black Mountain College in the late forties, exhibiting an early interest in the emotional effects of color and geometric forms. His commitment to line and color can be traced throughout his prolific oeuvre, including his Circle paintings and extending through a visual language of chevrons, diamonds, horizontal bands, plaid patterns, and shaped canvases.
In 1977 a major traveling retrospective of the artist’s work was presented by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. In response, late art critic of The New York Times Hilton Kramer wrote, “An art of this sort places a very heavy burden on the artist’s sensibility for color, of course—on his ability to come up, again and again, with fresh and striking combinations that both capture and sustain our attention, and provide the requisite pleasures…Mr. Noland is unquestionably a master.” The exhibition traveled to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, before closing at the Denver Art Museum.
New York—Pace Gallery is pleased to present Kenneth Noland: Into the Cool, an exhibition of never before exhibited works from the end of the groundbreaking artist’s life. These paintings, completed in a subtle color palette, present a new approach to both material and technique. An extension of his earlier work, the artist’s last series shows him having achieved a mastery of his medium. Into the Cool will be open from January 26 through March 4, 2017, at 32 East 57th Street. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue reproducing the entire series of 18 paintings and an essay by art historian William Agee.
The exhibition includes 14 of the 18 acrylic paintings on canvas in Noland’s series Into the Cool, made in 2006 and 2007. Together these works reveal the emotional effects and expressive potential of color and form, while outlining the artist’s commitment to the possibilities of abstraction. Returning to his use of the circle, emphasis on the center, and expressive, gestural brush strokes, the paintings show Noland focused on his application of paint. Continuing to use his technique, established in the 1950s, of staining unsized raw canvas with acrylic paint, here Noland has expanded upon it by not only painting the front surface of the canvas, but also working from behind. This modification in process highlights the artist’s painterly abilities, as well as his constant experimentation.
As with Noland’s earlier work, he continued to apply color as a physical material substance, but unlike his earlier hard edged paintings which rely on fields of dense color, for Into the Cool he used color through subtle tone and transparency. Noland achieved this varied application of paint and emphasis on certain colors by using a gel medium, which sits on the surface of the paintings and gives the color a tangible, physical quality. William Agee writes that the paintings—specifically Burst—have “perfect pitch, a fusion of emphatic color at right center to barely discernible at left and center bottom; an in and out weaving of pinks and blues; quasi-geometric shapes with an amorphous bleeding of the hues with a touch of mastery that certifies Noland’s genius.” The culmination of a lifetime of artistic experimentation, these last paintings show an artist drawing from aspects of his earlier works, to find a masterful series of original works.
Running concurrently with Kenneth Noland: Into the Cool, Pace Prints will exhibit four related works, as well as other prints and works on handmade paper made by Noland in his last years.
Kenneth Noland (b. 1924, Asheville, North Carolina; d. 2010, Port Clyde, Maine) was a primary force in the development of postwar abstract art and Color-field painting. He attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina from 1946 through 1948, and studied under Josef Albers and Ilya Bolotowsky. With the assistance of the G.I. Bill, in the autumn of 1948 he traveled to Paris, where he studied with the sculptor Ossip Zadkine. Noland left Paris in the summer of 1949 to settle in Washington, D.C., where he taught at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Noland also held teaching positions at Catholic University, Washington Workshop Center of the Arts, and Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson. A longtime resident of Vermont, Noland served on the board of trustees at Bennington College from 1985 through 1990.
Noland’s work was included in the major traveling group exhibition Young American Painters, organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1956). He was also featured in several other major group shows, including the Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1959, 1963, 1967, 1975); the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Annual and Biennial exhibitions (1961, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973); the San Marino Biennial (1963); Venice Biennale (1964); and The Biennale Eight at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (1964). Noland was also selected to participate in the Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (1964, 1967, 1971) and Documenta, Kassel (1968). He collaborated with architect I.M. Pei to design a mural integrated into the façade of the Wiesner Building at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (1979–85), a project initiated by Kathy Halbreich, the first Director of the List Visual Arts Center.
Noland has been the subject of solo exhibitions worldwide, including a presentation at the Jewish Museum, New York (1965); a retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, which traveled to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, before closing at the Denver Art Museum (1977). The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston organized Kenneth Noland: The Nature of Color in 2005. After his death in 2010, Noland was honored with memorial exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Noland’s work is held in public collections throughout the United States and abroad, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Art Institute of Chicago; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine; Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; Cranbrook Museum of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; Dallas Museum of Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation for Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Kunstmuseum, Basel; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Philadelphia Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate, London; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, among others.
Among his numerous accolades, awards, and honors, Noland was bestowed with the North Carolina Award in Fine Arts (1995), and received an honorary doctorate from Davidson College, North Carolina (1997).
Pace has represented the work of Kenneth Noland since 2013 and this will be the second solo exhibition of his work at the New York gallery.
William C. Agee
2017. Pace Gallery. Paperback
51 pages: 30 color illustrations; 10 ½ inches x 9 ½ inches