Ellsworth Kelly: When Two Colors Meet

Ellsworth Kelly, Chatham VI: Red Blue, 1971, oil on canvas, two joined panels, 1
Ellsworth Kelly, Chatham VI: Red Blue, 1971, oil on canvas, two joined panels, 114 1/2 x 102 1/4 inches (The Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Douglas S. Cramer Foundation, 1998. © 2013 Ellsworth Kelly)

Peter Malone reviews the exhibition Ellsworth Kelly: Chatham Series at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, on view thorugh September 8, 2013.

Malone writes "Typical of the series, Chatham VI: Red Blue, 1971 is a red horizontal panel sitting atop a shorter blue panel. The width of each panel seems equal, but the length of the red is greater, which feels counterintuitive. One would think the more intense red ought to be given less area than the blue, in order to balance the composition. Apparently—since its balance is flawless—either the horizontality has a diminishing effect on the red, or the blue panel, by occupying the lower region, reads as a counterweight for the cantilevered panel above, thus implying greater mass. Such questions enliven the proud simplicity of the series."