Sea Change: A Decade of Paintings, 1974–1983
Draw in and on the entire surface of it, color it in part, and make it a kind of sea. —Helen Frankenthaler
The exhibition of paintings by Helen Frankenthaler in Rome, coinciding with an exhibition of her work at the Palazzo Grimani, Venice, on the occasion of the 58th Venice Biennale.
In the summer of 1974, Helen Frankenthaler rented a house at Shippan Point in Stamford, Connecticut, facing the waters of Long Island Sound, marking the beginning of an important period of change for her work. Sea Change comprises twelve canvases that Helen Frankenthaler painted between 1974 and 1983, which reflect her responses to the changing appearance of the wide vistas and moving tides.
One of the earliest canvases, Ocean Drive West # (1974), is explicitly oceanic with its floating horizontal bands, seeming to recede across an expanse of transparent blue. In Jupiter (1976) and Reflection (1977), the bands are bunched together and turned to the vertical, appearing to all but
dissolve. In both of these paintings, the warm earth
In Feather (1979), Omen (1980), and Shippan Point: Twilight (1980),
The latest canvas in the exhibition, Silver Express (1983), makes clear that Frankenthaler is no longer thinking of the water and is instead imagining moving over a flat, resistant surface—in this case, to the edges of that most urban space, the square. This solid red monochrome is at once the opposite and the outcome of what had begun with the fluid blue monochrome of Ocean Drive West
Via Francesco Crispi, 16