Tate Liverpool  Ground floor gallery
13 May – 28 August 2006

Tate Liverpool is delighted to announce an exhibition of paintings by Kenneth Noland, one of the most important American painters of the post-war period. His experiments with form, medium and scale radically redefined the notion of painting and his technical and formal innovations have remained influential to succeeding generations of artists around the world. This exhibition brings together a critical body of work created by Noland in the late 1960s in a spectacular, yet intimate, setting.

The exhibition at Tate Liverpool will concentrate on the horizontal striped paintings, widely acknowledged as Noland’s most conceptually-evolved works. Ranging from the intimate to the large-scale panoramic, the exhibition will present a powerful installation of works from a key moment in art history. The exhibition consists of ten paintings, and will include several of his major large-scale works. The effect of the size of these works is to reverse the usual relation of spectator and picture. 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.

Beginning in 1967, Noland made a series of paintings composed entirely from horizontal stripes of pure colour. Varying in colour, number and width, the bands of colour across the length of the canvas became the sole means of defining the dimensions of the painting. As the colour becomes the subject of the works, scale becomes fundamentally important, with works up to six metres in length completely occupying the visual field. The paintings offer an immediate and total visual hit. Noland has commented:

The paintings … are the payoff … No graphs; no systems; no modules. No shaped canvases. Above all, no thingness, no objectness. The thing is to get the color down to the thinnest conceivable surface, a surface sliced into the air as if by a razor. It’s all color and surface, that’s all.

Born in North Carolina, America, in 1924, Noland attended Black Mountain College, where he studied under Josef Albers. He had his first solo show in Paris in 1949 and afterwards settled in Washington where he met Morris Louis. Both were impressed by Helen Frankenthaler’s technique of staining acrylic paint onto unsized canvas, and this was to inspire Noland in his later career. His work has been exhibited internationally, and his paintings are in major international collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Tate Gallery.