John McLaughlin: Paintings 1947-1974

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Robert C. Morgan reviews the exhibition John McLaughlin: Paintings 1947–1974 at Van Doren Waxter, New York, on view through April 19, 2013.

Morgan writes: "As the desire to see flashy and exorbitant mannerisms in painting appears quantitatively present, yet qualitatively in decline, McLaughlin’s pristine rectangles within rectilinear formats, measuring roughly 48 by 60 inches, hold forth with modesty, even dignity. In any case, it is inconceivable that anyone could grasp a sense of the actual painting through a digital reproduction of the work. McLaughlin’s paintings require as much attentiveness to placement as to the space contained by the work itself. Here the artist clarifies the importance of the viewer’s relationship to his work in physical space: 'as you approach it, [the painting] begs the element of the ‘Void’ and rightly so. To rationalize its function would invite inner thought peculiar to the individual. That is to say that the Void freed of the oppression of the object invites contemplation suitable to its capacity.' "

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