Ad Reinhardt: The Threshold of Perception

Ad Reinhardt, Abstract Painting, Blue, 1952, oil on canvas, 18 x 14 inches (© 2017 The Estate of Ad Reinhardt/Artist Rights Society, New York. Courtesy of David Zwirner, New York/London)
Ad Reinhardt, Abstract Painting, Blue, 1952, oil on canvas, 18 x 14 inches (© 2017 The Estate of Ad Reinhardt/Artist Rights Society, New York. Courtesy of David Zwirner, New York/London)

Justin Sterling reviews the recent exhibition Ad Reinhardt: Blue Paintings at David Zwirner Gallery.

Sterling writes: "To see Ad Reinhardt’s paintings one must slow down the pace of everyday life. In the Blue Paintings ... dating for the most part from 1950 to 1953, so much medium has been removed from the paint as to provide the opportunity to perceive color directly. These are among the most matte surfaces to be experienced in canvases emanating from the Abstract Expressionist circle in which the artist moved: there is no gloss, there is no reflection on the surface. The paint qualities associated with AbEx are almost entirely lacking in Reinhardt. His use of color is so subtle that it is on the very threshold of perception."