Thomas Downing

Henri Gallery

Thomas Downing’s recent development points up one “favorable circumstance” that is changing the artistic climate of Washington: the inspiration to the local artists of the increased number of contemporary museum shows. Since the “Washington Color Painters” show, Downing’s work has been going through a process of rapid change and transition: it’s as though he, more than Davis or Mehring, realized the general crisis of direction built into the achievement of the “Color School” that that show celebrated, and the need to move on to something beyond the “flat color areas” style perfected by Noland. It’s possible that not having had the same amount of recognition as Davis and Mehring was a help to Downing, leaving him more free to experiment. (In fairness, I must record the little sortie made by Davis into what he called “micro-paintings,” exhibited last season at the Jefferson Place Gallery:

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