ME GUSTO PHILIP GUSTON

Opening April 26th, 2016, the Hauser & Wirth exhibition "Philip Guston: Painter, 1957 - 1967" has gotten a phenomenal response from critics and gallery visitors alike. The show explores a pivotal decade in Guston's career, drawing together a compelling variety of works by the artist that articulate the unique concerns of his creative process and project.

Guston was a painter and printmaker in the infamous New York School, working alongside abstract expressionist legends like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline. Despite his association with these giants of abstraction, Guston's own work flickered in a less-defined space between abstraction and representation. During this period, Guston was actively questioning the meaning of abstraction in image making and starting to test other ways of expressing ideas and emotions. In the late 1960's, following this period of conceptual query, Guston helped lead a transition from abstract expressionism to neo-expressionism; in the neo-expressionism, "pure abstraction" was abandoned in favor of a cartoonishly warped representational style. 

For someone who has the names "POLLOCK, KLINE, AND ROTHKO" emblazoned on her phone case, I've never been a huge Guston fan. Probably because his work wasn't quite abstract enough for me -- I veer away from representational paintings. But this exhibition shows Guston before he's left the realm of the abstract expressionists -- his forms are starting to coalesce, to centralize, but they haven't yet revealed themselves to the viewer. This partially obscured, tentatively representational Guston is one I can get behind. And the pink doesn't hurt. 

Kelsey Leonard