Barry Schwabsky reviews Philip Guston Painter, 1957-1967 at Hauser & Wirth, New York, on view through 29 July 2016.
Schwabsky writes that the "show really encompasses three distinct stages in his career. Early in the 1950s, his painterly touch was often considered a bit refined compared with some of his more swashbuckling colleagues. In the late 1950s and early ’60s, when this exhibition picks up the story, Guston’s mark starts to look blunter, more declarative; the paintings acquire a greater sense of the 'objectness' of things. They are richly colored, with awkward, hard-won forms that clearly exhibit what Guston once called 'an infighting in painting itself.' Then, in the mid-’60s, comes a reduction of color to mostly shades of gray, with loose, almost blowsy brushstrokes massing together to form simple, nebulous shapes. Finally come the drawings already mentioned, with their nearly zero-degree mark-making."