"Remember No. 5," a painting on paper made by Anne Truitt in 1999, just five years before she died at age 83, and now in a show at Matthew Marks Gallery in New York. (Click on the image to see surface details.) Truitt might have been a major name, except that she suffered from the twin vices of being a woman and working in Washington, D.C. She also had the bad habit of escaping the limits of any one art movement or theory. When she hit her stride in the 1960s, her compositions were too intuitive, even willful, to count as party-line Minimalism. (Note the arbitrarily rough edges on two sides of this drawing, versus the clean cuts of the others). And they had too much contact with the world to count as pure Color Field. (This drawing may seem pared-down, but its presence as an object is palpable – it is much more than an optical treat.)
Truitt came late to abstraction, by way of pictures of picket fences. Her art, however refined, always had the mess of the real at its heart.
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