Milton Resnick and Willem de Kooning met in 1938 and became close friends. By 1946, they were actively exchanging artistic ideas. They would debate the importance of drawing verus painting or discuss the salient critique by Arshile Gorky of the eyes in Willem’s figure painting, and how they should be removed.
As a leading member of the Abstract Expressionist movement and “Club” member, Milton Resnick was able to develop his own artistic sensibilities using the dialogue within these forums as a means of theorizing about and critiquing his own work. The process of painting was much more personal than it had been in earlier decades. Artists painted the reflections of their belief structure, in essence their souls.
Resnick, like many other artists, came to desire an “overall quality for his pictures”. He wanted to make paintings which had no specific focus, where one part of the canvas was not more important than another. “There is no eccentricity in the way I paint….I have processes. It is when I pull the brush across that I look for a painting. What I like is for a painting to act in many different directions at once, so strongly, that it will shatter itself and open up a small crack, which will suck the world in.” (Resnick, 2006)
It was in the early 1960’s, after more than a full decade of painting, that Resnick found his niche. He had become obsessed with the viscosity of the paint, the fervor of total detachment of the recognizable, and the transient ability of sustaining snapshots of utter honesty within a work. With a new artistic impetus in movement, Resnick began creating a series of virtually monochromatic paintings which incorporated his invention of the wax-impregnated board and could hold almost double the amount of paint than that of the average canvas and stretcher. These monochromatic, heavily laden paintings provided only a glimpse or “key” of contrasting color; an ode to Resnick’s artistic premise.
Resnick’s work is in included in the permanent collections of numerous museums including the National Gallery, the Whitney, and the Smithsonian.
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