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The Subtle Madness of Larry Poons & Jean Dubuffet

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Robert C. Morgan reviews Jean Dubuffet and Larry Poons: Material Topologies at Loretta Howard Gallery, New York, on view through February 18, 2017.

Morgan writes: “We know that both [Dubuffet and Poons] are painters, but culturally, they appear to have been informed by different attributes regarding scale and color, line, and force of visual impact… I am somewhat dissuaded by the comparison, but it is nonetheless engaging, if not an urgent reminder of how significant painting can and should be. Who would have thought that the “art brut” style, based on the art of the insane and introduced by Dubuffet shortly after World War II, would eventually find an affinity with the gritty, unconventional large-scale paintings Poons made three decades later when he began using chunks of cut-foam on the surfaces of his canvases. This intriguing comparison suggests that the history of late-modernist painting still remains open in its search for primal origins.”

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