Richard Diebenkorn & the Painter's Predicament

Richard Diebenkorn, Sleeping Woman, 1961, oil on canvas (© 2013 The Richard Dieb
Richard Diebenkorn, Sleeping Woman, 1961, oil on canvas (© 2013 The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation)

Jed Perl writes about the problems facing contemporary painters and finds "promising directions that painters might further explore" in Richard Diebenkorn’s work from the 1950s and 1960s, currently on view in the exhibtion Richard Diebenkorn, The Berkeley Years 1953-1966 at the M.H. De Young Museum, San Francisco through September 29, 2013.

Perl examines "the painter's predicament," writing: "Suffice it to say that the conundrum for painters in the past several decades has been how to maintain some dependable conception of what painting is all about while insisting on the freedom of action needed to keep that concept alive... There is always the necessity to hold the line even as one goes over the line, to maintain some sense of what painting is before all else in the face of an environment in which anything goes."