"I paint from remembered landscapes that I carry with me--and remembered feelings of them, which of course become transformed. I could certainly never mirror nature. I would like more to paint what it leaves me with" (J. Bernstock, Joan Mitchell, New York, 1988, p. 31).
As evidenced by the painting's title, Landscape Ting reflects Joan Mitchell's involvement with landscape and her emotional and aesthetic responses to it. Her paintings are a manifestation of her emotions, lyrical poetry rooted in reality which are heightened by her sensitivity to the objects in her environment. As in all of her work, her feelings are filtered through her deep understanding of the lessons of Cezanné and de Kooning. The slashing brushstrokes and painterly facture bring the latter to mind and the scattered patches of color are reminiscent of the "color as form" of the Master of Aix. Indeed, Mitchell is arguably the most important landscape painter of the twentieth century and can be seen as part of the grand landscape tradition dating back to Poussin. At the same time, Mitchell's unerring painterly touch and sumptuous and often unexpected color combinations, held together with a rigorous compositional structure, mark Landscape Ting as a masterwork of Abstract Expressionist painting.
Landscape Ting resembles a musical composition in its arrangement and intensity. Mitchell has created a highly balanced composition placing the introduction at the top of the picture plane, the developed crescendo concentrated in the middle, and the coda in the bottom register of the painting. Mitchell uses a primary color palette consisting of red, blue, yellow, black and white, and the range of hues that result from their combination. The composition is brought to life when the cool, deep, blue collides with the fiery red that is bursting out towards the forefront of the composition. The various elements of the work's makeup join together in a powerful harmony that is as cleverly composed as a masterful symphony. This strikingly colorful composition is rendered in such a manner as to appear effortless and fortuitous.
The title of the painting is dedicated to Mitchell's friend, Walasse Ting, whom she met in the late 1950s in Martha Jackson's gallery where Ting was exhibiting. The pair of friends further collaborated in 1964, when Ting persuaded Mitchell to contribute to his book 1C Life, that depicted the works of twenty seven artists, including Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, Asger Jorn, and Andy Warhol. The pair remained close friends until Mitchell's death in 1992.