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Spruce Toronto

Paul Jenkins, Homage to Martha Graham, 1971

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Paul Jenkins contributed to the development of abstract expressionism in New York and abroad with his intuitive, chance-based approach to painting. Working first with oil paints and later acrylic, Jenkins poured paint directly on the canvas, or this case stone (lithographic limestone), allowing it to drip, bleed, and pool, as well as manipulating it with an ivory knife. Jenkins’s delicate streaks and gentle, fluid fields of colour positioned him as an important figure in abstract expressionism, and he often exhibited in the same venues as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning—artists who shared his instinctual working method.

Paul Jenkins was first invited by Martha Graham to observe her dance classes in 1951, making several drawings of her. She became a chief influence on him as he worked to capture her sense of movement.

“I try to paint like a crapshooter throwing dice, utilizing past experience and my knowledge of the odds. It’s a big gamble, and that’s why I love it,”

Paul Jenkins, Homage to Martha Graham, 1971

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