Washington, D.C.

Willem de Looper

Jones Troyer / Fitzpatrick Gallery / B.R. Kornblatt Gallery

In two recent exhibitions of abstract paintings, long-time Washington artist Willem de Looper presented very different kinds of work: large acrylic paintings at Kornblatt and small gouache on paper works at Jones Troyer Fitzpatrick. The contrasting nature of these shows revealed the complexity of de Looper’s art and something of the difficulty in establishing his relationship to the Washington Color School.

The gouaches, never before exhibited, are not sketches, but finished works taken from sketchbooks. In them, de Looper explores problems of space and light, utilizing color, line, and shape in a way that recalls Hans Hofmann. In the most successful gouaches, illusionistic overlapping is carefully avoided; formal and spatial tension is created by shapes pressing together against the picture plane. In Untitled #16, 1986, a large red circular form, irregularly drawn and cropped at the top

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