John Perreault reviews the exhibition Joan Mitchell: Trees at Cheim & Read, New York, on view through August 29, 2014.
After enumerating six reasons Mitchell's work has been under-appreciated, Perreault addresses the paintings in the show: "In Mitchell touch is vision, is ocular, curiously resplendent. She admired van Gogh and it shows. He too confused light and texture and color in a kind of grand synesthesia. He was the first, I think, to do that. Later, Mitchell may have been the first to do that with abstraction. De Kooning had tactility; Pollock had grandeur. But Mitchell had color, tactility, and light. And she knew when and where to leave the canvas blank. So there is air as well as space. The relationships between paint and canvas (or ground) are complex. Not Asian, not Western; purely Michellian. Her 'trees' are not pictures of trees but meditations upon treeness, upon stature, upon growth and motion."