PRINT November 1977

Ralph Humphrey: An Apology for Painting

THE EARLY EMOTIONAL AND INTELLECTUAL adventures of Ralph Humphrey distorted his experience into pure immediacy. He developed without a strong sense of cause and effect, and he chose and acted on the theory of life as hallucinations in surfaces. Humphrey discovered in color the means of expressing an intense visual experience which felt as though it had no correspondence with other sensations, no connections with solid objects, and no past and no future. Self-enfolded, he experienced himself as a floating cluster of feelings which could not be referred to any objective ground, and he investigated painting as a way to convey his painfully intense questions about immediate sensations and powerful emotions that have no tangible means of support and few connections with the ordinary actuality of other people.

The emotions and ideas of the early work can show him as the victim of external social

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