New York

Walter Darby Bannard

Knoedler Contemporary Art

In 1972, Walter Darby Bannard changed the style of his paintings. He stopped alternating matte and shiny passages on smooth surfaces, and started to make the entire surface shiny and rough. This new look was gotten by covering the canvas with an ooze of alkyd resin, then inflecting it with long, narrow, squiggly, scraping strokes. In his next show, these strokes got wider and more carefully aligned with the vertical edges of the canvas. In his most recent show, the alignment is more careful and the strokes wider still. Colors extend in layers across the surface, as Bannard’s scrapings reveal. They are decorator colors, offered in combinations so cheaply “daring” they become, simply, decorator colors.

To say anything more about Bannard’s new work requires one to raise questions about its connection to certain other painting—by “color field painters,” so-called—and to the criticism in support

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