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Rachel Cohen


Passages: Schuyler and Gorky

Passages Schuyler and Gorky

Gorky, Summation, 1947, iphone detail.

Wandering, I found in James Schuyler (Selected Art Writings, edited Simon Pettet, Black Sparrow Press: 1998) a short review of a retrospective of works by Arshile Gorky at the Janis Gallery in 1957, some ten years after Gorky's death.  The opening sentence gives practical details, the rest of the review is as follows:

"Included are the compelling Self Portrait and another (and, it appears, abandoned) version of the Artist and His Mother. These pictures give weight and pause to the transition from his long apprenticeship to the electric and inward freedom of his last and finest period.  

Looking at a thick grey still-life, uncompromising and stolid, surely no one could have predicted the future Ingres of the unconscious, drawing out lines and washes to an incredible fineness and thinnness, creating new imbalances between linearly described shapes and freely placed color.  But his pictures would be almost unbearably intimate without the grounding in the discipline of his art.  Only assurance could allow him to give so freely without burdening; that and the incorruptible innocence plain to read in the downcast eyes of the child and the in-dwelling, straight-out looking eyes of the self-portrait."  

I think this may help in ongoing efforts to understand Summation.  (First attempt under Gorky: Surrealism and Form)