JMW Turner at the Met

If furniture is all about function, and it is, then painting, oil painting specifically, is all about color. Of course, line is tremendously important in painting just as style is important in furniture, but it is color that is the artist’s goal once he sets brush to canvas.

In reading the NY Times review of the Turner retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, I have to say that I was more than a little startled by a few of the adjectives used by the reviewer, Roberta Smith which included “mechanical” and “overblown”. They would hardly be the words I would use to describe the artist who set painting free of the tyranny of line. His work is about color and how to get it onto the canvas and still represent what it is that he sees (or saw) in his mind’s eye. That achievement is singular in painting history.

The show is a triumph in my opinion and will help give even better context to the multitude of Turner’s works on view at the Tate Museum in London. Turner was a professional artist who lived to paint and that is quite evident in this show. His abstraction became a logical extension of color and in that, he set painting free for better or for worse. It is a tremendous show.

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