IGNORE THE RULES: Frankenthaler’s ‘Sure Violet’ (1979)

There are no rules.  That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen.  Go against the rules, or ignore the rules.

Helen Frankenthaler

The gesture, the mark, la tâche, the vestige of the masculine expressionist brushstroke, cast in feminine form.  Born in 1928 (d. 2011), on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Helen Frankenthaler stood at the fore for the absent female voice in a male dominated milieu of postwar American art.  Flooded fields of color filled canvases and inundated the images of Frankenthaler’s oeuvre, evidencing a life-long engagement with the usurping of the task of painting from the libidinally-delineated metaphor of masculine authority, into poetic, abstract expressions of form and of landscape: where the woman is agent and not object (implied or otherwise); where the certainty of Sure Violet (1979), an elegant example of the artist’s work in etchings and medium experimentation, speaks to the vibrancy and defiance of its author, her influence, and her legacy.

Above: detail from Helen Frankenthaler Sure Violet (1979) (30/50) Etching, applied color. (40.5 x 30″).  Provenance: Art Treasures, Great Neck, NY

Part of the Valerie Furth Collection.

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