Sunday, June 06, 2010

the written sea

The work by John Marin I know is watercolor. And mostly I've seen his early stuff--from the 1920s. But here is a canvas (at the National Gallery) done in oil, and it was made in his last year (1952; he died in '53). The curator at the gallery suggests that Marin's later painting--a flurry of caligraphic brushstrokes--"inspired the younger generation of abstract expressionists." Here Marin thinks of the perpetual movement of the windswept Maine seascape as a kind of writing. "The sea...wants to be horizontal," Marin said, "but then the horizontals begin to play, to move. Sympathetic lines turn up all over the canvas...all related to each other...all living together." The painting is called The Written Sea.