ARTICLE: Philip Guston’s Line

East Side 1980 by Philip Guston 1913-1980
Philip Guston “East Side”
A thoughtful take on painter Philip Guston as a draftsman in paint. Key quote from the article: “It was during this period that Guston also got rid of everything but the line in his drawings. Rendering, modeling, shading and all the other methods that we associate with traditional drawing — things that Guston could do well — were no longer called upon.”
Late period Philip Guston works are probably my favorite paintings of all. He won a hard victory, the return to personal vision after decades of conforming to the dogma of his age. To do so he returned to his first love and artistic activity, drawing. Guston described how as a boy he hid away for hours in a closet making pictures. When he reached a midlife crisis, when his abstract paintings had turned to ugly mud, he reached back to what captivated him in the first place, but found a way to use it with mature power and perspective.
Philip Guston is the proto-Remodernist. After a life spent as part of the establishment, he rejected the narrow minded, insular ideology of the art world and brought narrative, history, confession and excitement back into painting. He used everything which came before with abandon and created an integrated art uniquely his own.
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