The Tale, 1961
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In 1919, Philip Guston moved from Montreal to Los Angeles with his family. A high school classmate of Jackson Pollock, Guston trained for a year at the Otis Art Institute before moving to New York to pursue abstract painting. Like Pollock, Guston was interested in the expressivity of paint, albeit with a much different effect. In The Tale, thick oil paint is layered to form a dense, patchwork-like composition that culminates near the center of the canvas…Fusing abstraction and cartoonish figuration, Guston’s paintings from the late 1960s onward recalled some of the darkest aspects of modern life, including themes of postwar alienation, disembodiment, and the presence of the Ku Klux Klan in southern California. While critics were initially dismayed at Guston’s representational turn, these works came to be known as his most significant contribution to American painting.

-Kelly Filreis, PhD candidate in the Department of Art & Art History

From Left of Center, opened Sept 20, 2019