Jeremy Harding reviews and exhibition of works by Richard Diebenkorn at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, on view March 14 - June 2, 2015.
Harding concludes: "The last room celebrates Diebenkorn’s return to abstract painting. We’ve understood by now that his career was not a single, mechanical oscillation from abstract through figurative and back, but a long argument with himself, and others, about different ways to make a good painting. The grandiose Ocean Park canvases seem to cut that conversation short with a monumental flourish. They’re hung to drive home the point: standing at the entranceway you have a sense of cool, early morning coastal light, as you pick out louvred bands of colour and big squares a bit like cotton blinds: pale blues, greens and yellows, adorned with a livery of fine lines, mostly in a lower key. You move in, the bands flatten, and your next impression is of large, translucent openings in the gallery walls, like stained glass windows (all that’s missing are the pews); the paint is weightless."