This weekend, I went to San Francisco's de Young Museum to see the "Richard Diebnekorn: The Berkeley Years" show and was really struck by the power of his work. I had seen Diebenkorns before, here and there, but it was a treat to see 100+ paintings and drawings gathered together for impact. And it was especially rewarding to see almost all of his Berkeley paintings in one spot, to go from one to another, in a row, and stand before the enormous canvases of color and form.
Since the show was organized chronologically, it was also fascinating to see how he began with abstract works and moved into figurative and landscape works. When one follows the career of an artist, it is usually the other way around, with an artist gradually deconstructing his or her own message and distilling it down. But Diebenkorn started already deconstructed, working within the framework of Abstract Expressionism, and evolved into representational work.
On the wall at the entrance to the exhibit, there was a copy of Diebnenkorn's "Notes to myself on beginning a painting." I loved these ten tips which can work for any artistic output.
The show runs through September 29, 2013. If you are in Northern California--or are coming to Northern California--consider stopping by Golden Gate Park to see it. It's worth it...