Turner & Frankenthaler: Making Painting

Helen Frankenthaler, Hotel Cro-Magnon (courtesy of Milwaukee Art Museum  © Helen
Helen Frankenthaler, Hotel Cro-Magnon (courtesy of Milwaukee Art Museum © Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London 2013)

Emyr Williams reviews the exhibition Making Painting: Helen Frankenthaler and JMW at Turner Contemporary, Margate, on view through May 11, 2014.

Williams writes: "The two artists are represented by paintings and watercolours. In fact, water is one clear link between them: the way it carries colour, extending its reach into the corners, lapping against the edges, the bleeding and flowing of pigmented washes, suggestive of form or simply evocative of place as felt experience... I mused what [Turner] would have made of Frankenthaler’s work and even more so how would he have painted today? Would he still be painting landscapes? I wonder if it was landscape as a theme which eventually allowed him to paint as he wanted to paint, rather than always wanting to paint landscapes per se. The title of the show seems to reinforce this point. This is an exhibition that deals with how paintings get made rather than any specifics of subject matter. Many of Frankenthaler’s quotes about her work could equally have been uttered by Turner -'There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.' "