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Joan Mitchell: Cous-cous

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Bruce McColl blogs about Joan Mitchell's painting Cous-cous (1961-62) in the collection of the Currier Museum of Art.

McColl writes that Mitchell’s painting "is replete with a painterly syntax of every kind: sweeps of turpentine stained hues trace a dramatic scene that is horizontally inclined; in the middle-right region of the painting, staccato paint marks made with brush and knife in counter-punctuating teals and earth greens establish a since of rhythm, akin to masonry (or even Cezanne’s patchwork approach). Above this area, Mitchell dynamically draws the edges of a triangle directly from the teal and orange paint tubes into a field of thickly brushed orange, creating a kind of upward-thrusting structure. From there, moving from right to left, we find her painting out and interrupting pure color passages with a mass of muddied brown and sprays of pink, green and ochre. In order to offset this dramatically brushed out area, we find a radiant passage of cool cobalt blue. So on and on, the painting goes—at every turn Mitchell seems to impulsively obscure and upset easy comprehension with color, weight, application and intention."

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