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Josef Albers’ Unguarded Moments

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Thomas Micchelli reviews the exhibition Josef Albers in America: Painting on Paper at the Morgan Library, New York, on view through October 14, 2012.

Micchelli writes: "What is most striking about Albers’ studies, beginning with the adobe paintings and into the later “Homage to the Square” motifs, is how much they seem, like a piece of architecture, to have been built. The paint is knifed on, and in many of the works the soft, absorbent blotting paper support sucks up just enough oil to leave an ever-so-slight bleed around the swatches’ edges. This material interaction, which gives the impression that the paint is lifting off the paper, or, in other instances, that the surface is a colorfully realized bas-relief sculpture, endows these studies with a thing-ness that elude Albers’ finished works."

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