The peripatetic Philip Guston moved from figuration to abstraction throughout his career. The heart of Guston's late figurative work is autobiographical, and scenes of the artist's studio and the tools of his craft populate a fair number of them. In Painting on Floor, a lonely stretcher bar rests on the ground, perhaps a symbol of the periods of time between work, when the artist is searching for inspiration. It is also a symbol of the artist, alone is his studio.
Most importantly, Guston was concerned with the problems of painting and the challenges it presents. It is perhaps not surprising that some of the artist's most impressive passages of abstract painting appear in his later work, somewhat hidden by his realistic subject matter, as is clearly evident in the masterfully realized wall in Painting on Floor.