Photo: Robert Alexander / Getty Images
Wayne Thiebaud’s cakes, swimwear, landscapes, paint cans, pastries and cityscape paintings represent the luscious American sublime.
Calling him a “California painter,” as many do, is like calling Albert Pinkham Ryder a “New York painter.” Thibaw’s work is universal. His hallucinatory surface, mysterious perceptual intelligence, thick accumulation of rich colors, hard light, brightness, tonal control, and hopeless removal create eye worms that allow you to blend in with your paintings. Participate in how they were made. Following a soothing brush stroke from surface to surface, you experience the release of internal delight from shape.
Thibaw was born in Arizona and lived in New York for some time, where he tried to buy illustrations and commercial art. I knew De Kooning, Klein, Gaston, and Barnett Newman. I was fascinated by the new energies of artists like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. The fact that they were both younger than him indicates that he was not obsessed with ideological aesthetic ruts. He spent almost all 101 years in California, especially Sacramento. So he taught at the University of California, Davis. (Bruce Nauman was his student.) At this distance from New York, Tibaud sifted much of his influence and art history with one of the most distinctive optical styles of American painting, and Tibaud’s everyday life in pop art. Integrates product culture, strong colors, sarcasm, and commercial realism. He combined this with the pictorial West Coast figures of his companions like David Park, the abstraction of Richard Diebenkorn, and the importance of potters like Peter Voulkos and Robert Arneson. rice field. To this he added Morandy’s still life form and strangeness, Chardin’s intimacy, and the skills of old masters. He told students who didn’t want to learn these, “It would be great if we could run all these things to a great end, but drawing wouldn’t do that …”.
I met him once when I gave a lecture at the University of California, Davis in the 1990s. He sat in the front row. But until that moment, I hadn’t really thought about his work. I respected it. But it felt on one side and wasn’t as edgy as someone of his age, painted in California, and in his own colorful idiom, David Hockney, and wasn’t relevant at the moment. no matter. He was in a fuss when he showed slides of up-and-coming artists such as Matthew Barney, Janine Antoni, Chris Ofili, Kara Walker, Robert Gober and Jeff Koons. Then he told me he felt this job with his nerves and muscles. He asked if I wanted to play tennis with him (he was playing for the rest of his life). I’m sorry, I didn’t.
How we look was of utmost importance to Thibaw.He told new york Times, “I disagree with Duchan that the eye is a stupid organ … I think the eye has its own mind, and there are different ways we see. Peripheral vision, myopia. It has a close-up sensation, focused vision, “he continued, listing glances, gazes, strabismus, and fantasies with closed eyes. “The more ways you can put together a photo … the richer it is, the more life-like it will be.” He is most widely known for his juicy photos of sensual sweets on store displays and countertops. It has been. In these works it is an eternal supper. Watch objects wobble, focus and out of focus, and flow into each other in this powerful graphic field that unleashes the rush of dopamine pleasures. These were dormitory posters and fridge magnets that made him hugely popular. His work sold millions of dollars.
The work that pulls the carpet from under me is his city and landscape. Here, Thibaw unleashes his visionary power. Gap holes open into space as rows, houses, and streets on hills recede indefinitely, but force them to return to the surface of the work. Soon there will be no space here. It is an American version of a Chinese landscape where you can see a vast distance and a tree at the same time, turning your work into clouds. Nothing is placed. Everything is amorphous, melted and formed. The geometry changes to textured pavement, orange trees, and constantly time-of-day shadows in front of you. His picture is a sundial. His world is populous and inhabited, but always empty. We are lost over time and stagnate in the deserted city and Raymond Chandler’s Noir in California.
Then there is his landscape. It is my favorite. These wetlands, undulating causesways, planted crops, rows of fences, and pear-shaped aqueducts are rendered in this reliable equanimity. He only painted tame man-made landscapes, but he released something barbaric in them. And us.
I hated him for these works. No, it’s not — I was just jealous. It doesn’t rain in the Thibaw Min painting. The darkest day he had ever painted was only partially sunny. He is a master of scorched sunlight and watery blues of sapphire. Even his indoor scene is surrounded by nature, surrounded by parts of nature, awe-inspiring, bringing you to life and pouring out. For the past 40 years, as the son of New Yorkers Chicago and the Great Lakes, I have been anxious to see these paintings. I have never lived in the light, warmth, and outdoors all year long. All the fantasies of places I never live in, such as Los Angeles, Spain, Arizona, Italy, the Caribbean, Mexico, come to me. I miss what I don’t know.Henry James writes about California and “the general aspects of its mysterious territory.” [that] I kept proposing to me some kind of ready but unconscious and unexpected Italy … in perfect condition, but no historical impression yet. Thibaw’s art is a book of dawn that reveals to me the stillness of the mind, the inexhaustible, inner, beckoning, and resilient.
Photo: Susan Watts by Getty Images / NY Daily News Archive