Phenomena When I Looked Away

Phenomena When I Looked Away

1960

Paul Jenkins

(American, 1923-2012)

Oil and enamel on canvas

Unframed: 197.8 x 157.8 cm (77 7/8 x 62 1/8 in.)

Gift of Suzanne Jenkins 2015.160

Location

Fun Fact

Initially interested in theater, the young Jenkins obtained a fellowship at the Cleveland Play House.

Description

Intermingled pools of vibrant color offset against dusky fields demonstrate Jenkins’s considerable command in manipulating the fluidities of oil and enamel paint in Phenomena When I Looked Away. Its title references the artist’s interest in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s studies in perception, in particular the observation that afterimages persist on the retina when one turns quickly from bright light toward darkness. In fact, Jenkins’s original title for the work was Phenomena When G Looked Away, with “G” alluding to Goethe.

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