New York

Soulages

Knoedler Galleries

The viscous cuisine of Soulages’ old work has given way in the new to thinner washes of oil that invoke the muse of stain painting in a particularly gratuitous gesture towards being up to date. Nothing else has changed. In his current show, we are still given the same representations of gothic architecture with the same shafts of inspirational white light piercing the gloom of the same interior spaces. The wish to defeat drawing (with its inevitable reference to three dimensional masses in conventional illusionistic space) that was present at the birth of stain painting is absent from Soulages’ wash and glaze technique which evidences an unexamined and unbridled desire to draw. The paintings are arty not only in their exploitation of shape but also in their choice of color—most particularly in a frequent use of artificial ultramarine as an automatic source of voluptuous translucence.

Rosalind E. Krauss