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Pierre Soulages: Painter of Black & Light

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Robert C. Morgan reviews an exhibition of works by Pierre Soulages at Dominique Lévy and Galerie Perrotin, New York, on view through June 27, 2014.

Morgan writes that Soulage's "earlier paintings contain overlapping black and umber brushwork at vertical, horizontal, and diagonal angles, holding forth shimmers of light – discreet underpinnings of ochre and yellow – peering between constructed sections." In Soulage's more recent works, Morgan adds: "The assertion of light… is remarkable in its immediacy, given that the work not only exalts a heightened sensory elegance, but a clearly anchored youthful appearance. They are not at all the works of a retiring artist, but appear to have been made through the strength of accurate perception, thereby suggesting equivalence between the color black the truth of absence. They are paintings that offer substance to the way we perceive light. The pigment literally emit light by refracting off the surface, a point of view closer to Eastern Taoism than to the traditions of Western painting that began in medieval times."

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