One of New York’s Purest Abstract Painters

Harriet Korman, “Focus” (2011), oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches (image courtesy the artist and Thomas Erben Gallery, photo by Kevin Noble)

Harriet Korman’s career is a benchmark for abstract painting, particularly as it has unfolded in New York between 1972, when her work was included in the Whitney Annual, and the present.

In striking contrast to many of her peers, Korman has never developed a signature style, nor has she ever introduced imagery into her work. There is no light, shadow, illusionism, or space in her paintings. They are human scaled (none are larger than nine feet, as far as I know), completely flat, and chromatically vibrant. Despite all the restraints that Korman adheres to — or, more accurately, options she has not taken — her paintings are always vivid and unpredictable.

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