Thursday, October 6, 2011



When I came across this dress earlier this season, I immediately recognized its affinity to Color Field painting.

Morris Louis (1912-1962) was the key proponent of the Washington Color School movement, a branch of mid-century Abstract Expressionism.


After experiencing the work of Helen Frankenthaler in New York, Louis embarked on his own exploration of color field painting in Washington, DC.


Louis, along with Kenneth Noland and others, established a school of painting which championed the broad expanse of color achieved by pouring thinned paint onto an unprimed canvas. [View my Noland post here.]


Louis worked with Magna paint, an oil-based acrylic, which was specially developed for him by paintmaker colleagues.


The work of the Washington Color School is characterized by all-over composition, and broad fields of transparent, dripped, organically-spreading paint.

The group of works shown here cover all or most of the canvas, in contrast with his well-known Unfurleds, which simplified what it meant for a painting to be complete.


The color veils of Louis's work speak to the underlying spirituality of painting as a process, and remove the hand of the painter from act of painting.


I'm wearing a silk dress by Presley Skye, vintage leather boots, and self-made earrings.


[Louis images from,,, and, respectively.]


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