Ronald Bladen, Untitled (black painting), c. 1956-59, Oil on canvas, 96 x 72 inches
Long renowned as a minimal sculptor of great import, prior to 1963 Ronald Bladen was a painter. After his death these paintings were unearthed, according to Bill Berkson“…since a cache of some thirty-five canvases and panels was discovered behind a wall in his studio that Bladen built in 1978 to seal them from sight, a legend has grown about his New York pictures.”
His heavily impastoed paintings were often constructed with masonry trowels and two by fours as the artist spread, packed, kneaded and pounded his heavily pigmented, handmade oil paints into place. His surfaces are marked by their sensitivity, chromatic intensity and earthy texture. Massive topographies of paint and pigment, these works invite comparison to landscape. They too display an aesthetic concern born throughout the artist’s entire oeuvre. These works radiate with the subject and power of nature. Bladen’s paintings are a conduit into his complex sculptural search. Bladen’s painting reliefs welcome the viewer to step into the artist’s next body of legendary work.