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New Work of Helen Frankenthaler

HELEN FRANKENTHALER’S RECENT SHOW at Emmerich did relatively little either to enhance or to blemish her reputation as one of the most consistently “interesting” painters currently active in this country. To say that her work has been and continues to be “interesting” is not to imply faint praise, but rather to suggest that her achievements have, as often as not, been critical rather than truly pictorial in nature, and that this very much remains the case.

For over a decade Helen Frankenthaler has presented herself as a maker of predominantly color-oriented paintings. Yet, either for fear of self-indulgence or from some more basic artistic insecurity, Frankenthaler’s color has never been permitted to carry unimpeded the real expressive content of her art, and instead, a process of what can perhaps best be described as continuous formal self-analysis has seemed always to prevent her color

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