John McLaughlin: The Marvelous Void

John McLaughlin, #4, 1965, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches (courtesy of Van Doren Waxter)
John McLaughlin, #4, 1965, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches (courtesy of Van Doren Waxter)

Joan Boykoff Baron and Reuben M. Baron review two exhibitions: John McLaughlin Paintings: Total Abstraction at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (through April 16) and John McLaughlin: Marvelous Void at Van Doren Waxter, New York (closed).

The reviewers write: "[McLaughlin] sought a purer basis for abstraction in the Zen concept of the 'marvelous void'. Using empty spaces between rectangular forms to imply absence, McLaughlin sought to draw the viewer into a meditative state in which the noise of everyday life is shut out or at least deferred. He intentionally used neutral geometric forms that had no counterparts in nature in order to give his viewers complete freedom to find their own meaning in his paintings. This objective is well captured by McLaughlin’s suggestion that his paintings are best viewed in bedrooms—silent and enigmatic, yet full of intimacy."