PORT CLYDE, ME.-
The New York Times has reported that American color field artist Kenneth Noland
has died at the age of 85. The artist's wife, Paige Rense, told the New York Times that the cause of death was cancer.
Noland was born in Asheville, North Carolina. A veteran of World War II he joined the U.S. Air Force in 1942. After his discharge four years later, Noland took advantage of the G.I. Bill to study art at Black Mountain College in his home state of North Carolina. Noland attended the experimental Black Mountain College and he studied with professor Ilya Bolotowsky who introduced him to Neo-plasticism and the work of Piet Mondrian. There he also studied Bauhaus theory and color with Josef Albers and he became interested in Paul Klee, specifically his sensitivity to color. In 1948 and 1949 he worked with Ossip Zadkine in Paris, and in the early 1950s met Morris Louis in Washington DC. He became friends with Louis, and after seeing Helen Frankenthaler's new paintings at her studio in New York City in 1953 they adopted her soak-stain technique of allowing thinned paint to soak into unprimed canvases.
Most of Noland's paintings fall into one of four groups: circles, or targets, chevrons, stripes, and shaped canvases. His preoccupation with the relationship of the image to the containing edge of the picture led him to a series of studies of concentric rings, or bulls-eyes, or as they were known - Targets - like the one reproduced here called Beginning from 1958, using unlikely color combinations. This also led him away from Louis in 1958. Noland pioneered the shaped canvas, initially with a series of symmetrical and asymmetrical diamonds or chevrons. In these paintings, the edges of the canvas become as structurally important as the center. During the 1970s and 1980s his shaped canvases were highly irregular and asymmetrical. These resulted in increasingly complex structures of highly sophisticated and controlled color and surface integrity. In 1964 Noland occupied half the American pavilion at the Venice Biennale. In 1965 his work was exhibited at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art and the Jewish Museum (New York).