Maison d’Art is pleased to announce a presentation of works by Kenneth Noland and Steven Parrino. The exhibition will feature Noland’s circle paintings of late 1950s through early 60s alongside Parrino’s misshaped paintings of the 1990s–2000s.
In 1960, Noland described his circle paintings as:
“It’s anti-gravitational painting … There is no feeling of left to right or up and down.” 1
Later on, he expanded:
“...the early circles used to disturb people because they looked like objects floating in deep space.” 2
In Noland’s circle paintings he alluded to gravitational forces and the “deep space” by morphing the canvas into an arena of overlapping layers of colored paint.
The “deep space” is an element that Parrino constantly emphasized in his practice whether it was creating vortexes by manipulating the surface of the canvas or sketching black holes from space. Parrino continued to explore the relationship between death and space, the conscious and the unconscious, illusion versus reality. Parrino’s misshaped paintings exerted a sense of necrophilia, unconventionality and violation, consequently making his viewers feel uncomfortable, just as Noland did with his early circle paintings.
Noland and Parrino crafted their practices succeeding the deaths of giant figures of the art world. Followed by Jackson Pollock’s death in 1956, Noland began practicing and perfecting his circle paintings. Soon after Andy Warhol’s death in 1987, Parrino created his misshaped canvases. In a time of deaths, end of new movements, Noland and Parrino transgressed and disrupted traditions, including that of Clement Greenberg’s and his celebration of flatness. Noland and Parrino surged in abstraction to contribute to and advance painting.
(1) Noland quoted in Thomas Wolfe, Artist’s New Technique Goes All Over, Washington Post, 5 January 1960, p.A10.
(2) Noland and Cummings 1971.