Paul Behnke

#80. Paul Behnke writes on John Hoyland at Pace, N.Y.

John Hoyland, “7.11.66”, 1966, acrylic on canvas, 213.4 cm x 304.8 cm. © The John Hoyland Estate. All rights reserved, DACS 2017. Photograph by Colin Mills, courtesy of Pace Gallery

John Hoyland Stain Paintings 1964-1966 is at Pace, 32 East 57th Street, New York, NY 10022, September 15 – October 21, 2017

John Hoyland Stain Paintings 1964-1966 is the first in-depth exhibition of the painter’s work in the United States in 25 years.  Hoyland’s work is rarely seen on this side of the Atlantic and this marks only the third time I have been able to see works by the artist “in the flesh”. The first being at Flowers Gallery (NY) in the group exhibition The Independent Eye: Contemporary British Art from the Collection of Samuel and Gabrielle Lurie which featured a small number of works by Hoyland dating from the early 1980s through the early 2000s. The second was the stunning Power Stations mini retrospective in 2015 at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery in London.

In 1964, at the age of thirty, John Hoyland (1934-2011) was awarded a traveling fellowship by the Peter Stuyvesant Foundation and with it traveled to New York for the first time. There he either met or renewed acquaintances with prominent members of the New York School including Barnett Newman and Helen Frankenthaler as well as the formidable critic Clement Greenberg, and several of the painters he championed as post painterly abstractionists – Kenneth Noland, Paul Feeley and Jules Olitski. These latter three artists had a considerable affect on the works on view here.


#2. Paul Behnke writes on Pat Passlof

Pat Passlof: Paintings from the 1950’s at the Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York.

untitled, c.1950's, oil on paper, 25 x 20 inches

untitled, c.1950’s, oil on paper, 25 x 20 inches

The current exhibition at Elizabeth Harris Gallery in New York City presents abstract oil paintings by Pat Passlof from the early 1950’s through the end of the decade. At the time this work was made, Passlof was only in her twenties. Born in Brunswick Georgia in 1928, she sought out and studied with Willem de Kooning at the famous Black Mountain College. Soon after, she took his advice and moved to New York City, embarking upon a painter’s life. In Manhattan, Passlof continued to receive private painting instruction from de Kooning and became close with the painters that populated the 10th Street artists’ community in the early 50’s. Through de Kooning, Passlof met the painter, Milton Resnick, whom she later married. Resnick no doubt introduced the young Passlof to the painting philosophy of Hans Hofmann, whose ideas, collected in The Search for the Real (not published until 1967) influenced a whole generation of painters. The New York art scene of the early 50’s was a hot bed of contention, influence, and personality. And it seems the young Passlof was for a time caught up in the wave, producing strong and ambitious, if derivative, work.