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Emily Mason (1932-2019)
Emily Mason (1932-2019)
Emily Mason (1932-2019)
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Fields of Vision: The Private Collection of Artists Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason
Emily Mason (1932-2019)

Untitled

Details
Emily Mason (1932-2019)
Untitled
signed and dated 'Emily Mason '58' (lower left)
oil on paper
19 ¼ x 26 in. (48.9 x 66 cm.)
Painted in 1958.

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Lot Essay

The present work is among Emily Mason's earliest experimentations with the process of layering forms of varying degrees of transparency to create ambiguous surfaces, where the order of her application becomes difficult to decipher within the final immersive painting. On a Fulbright scholarship in Venice in 1956, Mason first began to investigate diluting oil paint to the extent where it would flow almost like watercolor, allowing her to play outside the realm of traditional techniques to explore dripping, overlapping and bleeding colors. As Robert Wolterstorff writes, “Mason's first works in oil on paper date to 1957. In Venice in 1958 she dove in deeply, immersing herself in the medium as a means to develop her vision and technical resources. The quick drying times let these works serve as a laboratory for formal improvisation. Simultaneously, she pushed the materials, combining oil with pastel, thinning the paint, and testing different kinds of mark making.” As exemplified by the present example, Wolterstorff summarizes, "Upon encountering Emily Mason’s early oil paintings on paper, your first impression is of ravishing, simmering color, of a glowing, interior luminosity. This is an art truly of and about color." ("Gesture into Color: Early Works on Paper by Emily Mason," Color Gesture: Early Works of Emily Mason, Bennington, Vermont, 2019)

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