Kenneth Nolands groundbreaking explorations of form, medium and scale have influenced artists internationally since the 1960s. A key artist among a generation of painters who reacted against the highly personal and painterly approach of the then dominant form of Abstract Expressionism, Nolands work typifies the so-called post painterly abstraction of the 1960s: a reduced formal vocabulary of simple, often geometric compositions executed in a characteristically detached manner.
Noland has always worked in series, creating paintings which explore regular schematic compositions or motifs in different combinations of colour – circles (1958–62), chevrons (1962–4), diamonds (1964–7). Beginning in 1966, Noland made a series of paintings composed entirely from horizontal stripes of pure colour. The stripe paintings, like his earlier works, employ simple form as a device to provide ready-made structures for his paintings and to concentrate the effect of colour, his primary concern.
As colour becomes the subject for Noland, scale becomes fundamentally important. The paintings envelop the viewer to extend beyond their field of vision, and remain poised between pure abstraction, landscape painting and a representation of movement. Noland, however, rejects straightforward representation which he sees as a distraction… something apart from the formal characteristics of painting. For Noland, a life-long Jazz fan, purely formal characteristics exercise the senses as do string quartets, piano concertos, Dixieland.
Kenneth Noland was born in Asheville, North Carolina in 1924. He studied at the experimental Black Mountain College, North Carolina from 1946 to 1948 and in the Paris studio of sculptor Ossip Zadkine from 1948 to 1949. His first solo exhibition was held in 1949 at the Galerie Creuze, Paris. He has exhibited extensively and his paintings are held in major international collections including the Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum in New York and Tate.
Kenneth Noland: The Stripe Paintings is curated by Christoph Grunenberg and Simon Groom.
Supported by Tate08 Partners