George Lawson Gallery Celebrates “Radical Painting” and Two of Its Visionary Collectors

Thanks to collectors Patrick Duffy and his late partner, Wally Goodman, visitors to George Lawson Gallery in San Francisco are treated to an impressive array of monochromatic paintings. Though not as renowned as, say, Robert Ryman, the 13 artists are well worth discovering. Paintings from the group, all drawn from the couple’s collection, are now on view in “RADICAL: Monochrome Paintings from the Goodman Duffy Collection.”

Hailing from Europe and the east and west coasts of the United States, the 13 artists eventually showed in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where, like many painters before them—not least of all Georgia O’Keeffe and Agnes Martin—they found inspiration in the dramatic landscape and light of the American Southwest.

By the 1990s, Santa Fe was a hub for what the American artist Joseph Marioni called “Radical Painting.” Together with the German artist Günter Umberg, Marioni wrote and distributed “Outside the Cartouche: The Question of the Viewer in Radical Painting” (1986), a manifesto-like essay that gave a name and definition to what they and their peers were doing—and, for some, continue to do—with paint and canvas.

The loose cohort of artists painted in different decades, some more strictly monochromatic than others. Many found a champion in Santa Fe–based gallerist Charlotte Jackson. Among the collectors who frequented her space were Goodman and Duffy, who became enamored with compositions like John Beech’s Untitled (2002), a golden yellow painting featured in the new show. Known for working with humble material and found objects, Beech created the buttery surface by applying carpenter’s glue to canvas.

On the other hand, Marcia Hafif’s peach-colored French-Chevreul (1997) is made with traditional oil on canvas. Her monochromatic painting, also included in the show, reflects a career-long interest in drawing out the fundamental properties of paint and color. The work rewards sustained looking, since it contains more visual variation than initially meets the eye. As with all the paintings on display, it gradually reveals its bewitching beauty and subtle complexity.


—Karen Kedmey


RADICAL: Monochrome Paintings from the Goodman Duffy Collection” is on view at George Lawson Gallery, San Francisco, Sept. 7–Oct. 22, 2016.

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