John McLaughlin (b. 1898, Sharon, MA - d. 1976, Dana Point, CA) acted as the missing link between constructivism and perceptualism and had a profound impact on two generations of advanced, reductive California artists, among them Robert Irwin, Robert Ryman, Larry Bell and many more. McLaughlin wanted the viewer in his own words to " contemplate his relationship to nature uninhibited by the tyranny of the object"
"Deliberately neutral in character, John McLaughlin's forms might be described as anonymous. Essentially color serves him as a means of defining and regulating a form's relative importance in the composition. Each painting represents the outcome of a process of refinement."
--Jules Langsner, Four Abstract Classicists, LACMA 1959
"My purpose is to achieve the totally abstract. I want to communicate only to the extent that the painting will serve to induce or intensify the viewer's natural desire for contemplation without benefit of a guiding principle. I must therefore free the viewer from the demands or special qualities imposed by the particular by omitting the image (object). This I manage by the use of neutral forms. The uncompromised form by virtue of its power to withhold neither reveals or conceals. Its function is merely to indicate that reality may be sensed by the viewer when released from the insistent demands of substantive quality. The reservoir of total experience may be reflected by the void or anonymous form. With respect to my direct influences I must stress my interest in 15th and 16th century Japanese painters. I have found comfort in some aspects of thought expressed by Malevitch, and I am indebted to Mondrian because his painting strongly indicated that the natural extension of Neo-Plasticism is the totally abstract."
--John McLaughlin, Pasadena: Pasadena Art Museum, 1963, n.p.
|1935||Resides in Japan for several years|
|1941-45||Works as translator in Japan, Burma, China while serving in the U.S. Army Intelligence|
|1946||Settles in Dana Point, California; devotes himself to painting|
|1948-76||Restricts his work to hardedge shapes and flat colors|
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
III Bienal de Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1955
Four Abstract Classicists, Los Angeles County Museum, 1959
Geometric Abstraction in America, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1962
The Artist's Environment: West Coast, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth
Texas, 1962 and to the University of California, Los Angeles Art Galleries
Fifty California Artists, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1962
Looking West 1970, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, 1970
II Los Angeles Artists, Hayward Gallery, London, 1971 (traveled to Museés Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Akademie der Kunste, Berlin)
Painting and Sculpture in California: The Modern Era, San Francisco
Museum of Modern Art 1976 and National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, D. C.
Four Abstract Classicists Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles 1982
Abstract Classicists:John McLaughlin/LorserFeitelson Tobey C. Moss Gallery 1994
Tamarind Fellowship, 1963