Artist: Alex Katz

Katz, A. et al., 1999. Alex Katz, Torino: Hopefulmonster.

Painting ‘Reflections’ 1994 (p.170).
I am interested in the blocks of colours, and the marks made on top of the blocks of colour. This work has a limited colour palette, and is abstracting its subject quite extremely.
Katz believes the ‘all-overness in a lot of the big landscapes’ comes from art.
I interpret ‘all-overness’ as meaning a quality where every inch of the canvas is equally important and there is no focus on one point or subject, the whole is the focus point. This idea makes sense since he goes on to talk about Pollock and Baroque paintings which he says ‘don’t have much of an image, they just have motion.’
This idea of all-overness is present in the painting ‘Reflections’ .

Paintings ‘Dawn’ 1995 and ‘Dawn III’ 1995 (p.200-1).
Idea of painting with consideration of the light and atmosphere, and prioritising that over brush marks or anything else.

Painting ‘Autumn I’ 1999 (p.260).
Love the use of yellow as the background. Impactful light and atmosphere created. Katz seems to use a lot of this colour in his work.
The colour is overwhelming considering the size of the work.

Painting ‘Dark Green’ 1997.
Interesting use of one sap green shade for background, which acts as a colour indicator as well as a suggestion of distance where no paint has been applied on top.
This makes me consider adding more ‘blocks’ of colour in my work.

Painting ‘Lawn Party’ 1965 (P.52).
The trees in the right hand top corner have been painted wonderfully. They are painted four colours; light yellowy-white green, dark sap green, light grey, blue-grey.
Katz paints the leaves in blocks of shape and dots of the same colour surrounding the blocks. It’s a very pleasing way to paint trees and more specifically leaves, simply.
This is reinstating how successful block areas of paint can be.

Sylvester, D. et al., 1997. Alex Katz : twenty five years of painting : from the Saatchi Collection., London: Saatchi Gallery.

Painting ‘May’ 1996, oil on canvas, 305x610cm, p.26.
This is more like the work I have been doing – the brushstrokes are fractured and there is movement in the work. Instantly, the scene looks far more alive and spring/summer like than other works.
More fragmented brushtrokes seems to indicate more life and energy than bigger ‘block’ of paint.
One thing I have been considering in my painting has been how to convey these still, wintery, bare woods, when my painting language has been very energetic and fragmented etc. Perhaps bigger areas of still paint would work for stiller landscapes. This is something I cannot learn more about without experimenting!


Paint applied in blocks appear ‘stiller’ than small separate brushstrokes.
Try adding more blocks of colour maybe as the first layer of painting to map out the landscape.

My paintings have a quality of ‘all-overness’ in my paintings; where the whole canvas is the focus point.

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