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The Artists Forum Magazine Reviews Jules Olitski

New York, NY (November 8, 2015) Color came streaming into the Leslie Feely gallery on East 68th Street early November as the gallery unveiled a 14-portrait gallery of works by painter, Jules Olitski.  Jules works dominate the walls as he undergoes experiment with color and surface texture.  The name of the exhibition, "A Decade of Innovation," certainly lives up to it's name.  In his abstract expressionism, each canvas is filled edge to edge with grand strokes, creating a simplistic portrait with a deeper texture, as the dry paint occasionally adds a physical dimension to what can be considered a flat surface. 

In some paintings, such as the painting Beauty Mouth, there is a constant force of flowing color, essentially, one paint on a canvas.  Olitski, however, has manipulated the intensity of his brush strokes in such a way that not only does the portrait resemble one large brush stroke, but each picture has also a touch of illumination, creating a dazzling portrait with a simplistic design and nature, but irrefutable domination. 

In a few others, specifically in his paintings, Hyksos Factor-Four and Hyksos Factor III, there appears to be a power struggle between light and dark.  There is no precise winner, instead choosing to rely on a momentum of force that appears to have been frozen in time and locked behind glass for the entire world to see. 

One more painting that particularly sticks out is Cythera-2, its name, derived from Jean-Antoine Watteau's "The Embarkation for Cythera", referring to the island of Cyrthera considered to be the birthplace of Aphrodite.  Here, Olitski has enforced pastel blue and yellow to create a marvelous reflection of the edge of the ocean mingling with the sand on the shore. 

In the end, Olitski brings a powerful wash of color to each painting, be it either delicate or full of force.  Each surface has been made into it's own place of existence.