Diebenkorn has been a flagship artist for me. I saw the first showing of his Ocean Park series while I was still in college, and seeing those luminous paintings was a turning point in my aesthetic education. I have never lost interest in this work, and every time I find one hanging in a museum–they show up in unexpected places–I am overwhelmed all over again.
These words, from Sister Wendy Beckett:
At the height of Abstract Expressionism, Diebenkorn’s work retained a connection to landscape painting. In 1954 Life magazine called his work “abstract landscape,” a term which could be applied to the Ocean Park series.
Diebenkorn began the series, which would eventually grow to more than 140 paintings, in 1966…Daily walks to his studio took him through the Santa Monica Park, which he explored in this series of large canvases. The paintings echo each other: Formal aspects — the ruler-straight lines, some visible, others almost rubbed out — and the sensuous blended colors recur in most. But each finds this “abstract landscape” in a different mood almost becoming a chronicle of the light and composition at play in the park and the adjoining ocean.