Richard Diebenkorn (1922–1993) was a pivotal figure in the history of modern painting. The Ocean Park series is distinguished by large, luminous paintings that build upon a grid-like system, with extensive reworking and scraped layers of translucent paint—processes that are discernible to the viewer. His works on paper, including prints, drawings, and collages, are equally important, exploring the same visual territory as the large-scale canvases.
Consisting of monumental, geometric panes of saturated color, the ethereal and powerful paintings in the Ocean Park series capture the psychology of place that defined the California coast during this time and showcase the innovations and improvisations of an artist whose work inspired legions of artists and greatly advanced the lexicon of abstraction.
“These works are powerful investigations of space, light, composition, and the fundamental principles of modern abstraction, bringing together concepts forged by artists like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso,” said Philip Brookman, chief curator and head of research at the Corcoran and the coordinating curator of the exhibition. “Diebenkorn investigated the tension between the real world and his own interior landscape to produce some of the most innovative, influential, and timeless works of art during this decisive period of his career. These are not landscapes or architectural interiors but topographically rooted abstractions in which a sense of the skewed light and place of that time emerges through the painting process.”
<i>Ocean Park No. 27
Oil on Canvas
100 x 80 in. (254.0 x 203.2 cm)</i>