“The only rule is that there are no rules. Anything is possible. It’s all about risks — deliberate risks.”
Deliberate Risks (through July 11, 2021) presents works recently acquired for the SCAD Museum of Art Permanent Collection, at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, by the pioneering Modernist painter and printmaker Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928–2011). With a career spanning six decades, Frankenthaler was a leading voice in the development of the second generation of Abstract Expressionism in the U.S. Considered by many to be one of the most important artists of her time, she developed a deeply unique approach to painting — which she coined the “soak-stain technique” — by saturating unprimed canvases with swaths of paint thinned by turpentine, resulting in translucent passages of color. This work was pivotal in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to the Color Field school of painting, which included artists like Kenneth Noland (American, 1924–2010), Sam Gilliam (American, b. 1933), and Morris Louis (American, 1912–62).
While she is known for her work as a painter and experimentations with ceramics, textiles, and sculpture, Frankenthaler also made major contributions to the field of printmaking. As part of the Helen Frankenthaler Prints Initiative, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation gifted the SCAD Museum of Art 10 prints and four proofs from the 1960s through the early 2000s that exemplify the artist’s experimental approach to the medium. Frankenthaler created her first print in 1961, after which printmaking became an important aspect of her work. She was known for combining processes, abandoning strict, long-held rules about the medium, and even inventing her own techniques. She worked with several workshops and master printers throughout her life, which allowed her to understand the traditions of printmaking and, ultimately, to break the rules.