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Exhibition Review- Lee Krasner: Living Colour at the Barbican Art Gallery from 30 May to 1 September 2019

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Barbican Art Gallery presents the first retrospective in Europe for over 50 years of American artist Lee Krasner (1908 – 1984). The exhibition entitled Lee Krasner: Living Colour features nearly 100 works, many are on show in the UK for the first time and covers her 50-year artistic career.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Krasner is considered one of the pioneers of Abstract Expressionism, however her importance as an artist has been eclipsed by interest in her marriage to Jackson Pollock. Krasner was born in Brooklyn in 1908 and studied art in New York, some of her early self portraits and life drawings are featured in the exhibition.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The opening of the Museum of Modern Art in 1929 had a considerable influence on her art especially the work of Picasso and Matisse. In 1937, Krasner joined the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts, where she made friends with Ray Eames, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The section in the exhibition called War Service Windows illustrates Krasner’s work for the War Service Project where she supervised fellow artist Jackson Pollock.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

In 1945, Krasner married Jackson Pollock and they moved to Springs, Long Island, Krasner began to work on her Little Images series which features Mosaic Table.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

In the summer of 1956, Krasner painted a series of paintings that were unlike anything she had painted before. The paintings under the title of Prophecy features contorted body forms and may have reflected Pollock’s problems with alcoholism. Pollock was to die in a car crash in August 1956 and Krasner became a widow at 47.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Krasner took over Pollock’s studio and began to tackle larger scale paintings, the dark Night Journeys series indicates this was a difficult time with Krasner also losing her mother.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

In the early 1960s, the dark period of Night Journeys gave way the exuberant colour of the Primary Series. Inspired by her artistic hero Matisse, Krasner produced large dramatic paintings full of energy and life.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This style of painting was overtaken in the 1970s by a move to more hard abstract forms with a colourful but more subdued palette.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

A fascinating filmed interview in the exhibition gives some insight into the life of Lee Krasner and portrays her strength as a person and an artist. She often acknowledged that the lack of attention to her work had often been a blessing because she could have freedom to follow any particular direction that interested her.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This intriguing exhibition provides some of the attention that her work deserves in Europe. Although Abstract Expressionism often goes in and out of fashion, this exhibition illustrates the wide range of Krasner’s work over a 50 year period.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets , visit the Barbican website here

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