The eye on Helen Frankenthaler?s Madridscape

Entertainment,Jessica Novak
Tami Satterfield

Art Dealer for D&K contemporary regional fine art

Helen Frankenthaler’s Madridscape, 1959

Why I Love this piece:
I was a junior in college sitting in a dark lecture hall when I first saw Helen Frankenthaler’s “Madridscape.” It flashed on the screen larger than life and I was immediately in awe. Bold strokes and passages of soft color saturated the raw canvas. Seemingly random spills and drips slowly guided me through the painting until I was lost in a field of color.

Frankenthaler’s spontaneous generation of organic forms, like Rorschach ink blots, became abstract expressions of my subconscious. Figure and background fused with paint that stained and bled pigment deep into the canvas, creating a physical locale much more ethereal than the macho styles of the paint constructionists of the same era. I was transported to a dreamy state where ritual and my memory made associations for me and I was forced to think.

Though it has been out of fashion for some time, Frankenthaler’s soak-and-stain approach to painting was revolutionary in its time. And while for Frankenthaler, the process of making art was paramount to the finished product, standing in the contemporary wing at the Baltimore Museum of Art I was happily lost in process, product and history.

As with all Abstract Expressionists, Frankenthaler saw her way of painting as diametrically opposed to the corrupted modern world following the Depression and World War II. I wonder, once we are past our own current financial and moral crisis purged of all of its theater, what tomorrow’s artists might offer us as alternatives.

The theories of a parallel universe, gravitational redshift and space-time contributed to Tami Satterfield’s new series of work on display at Diddywopps & Keeffers.

“After suffering a toxic injury a number of years ago, I became acutely aware of the reality behind theories of quantum mechanics — the study of the relationship between energy and matter,” Satterfield writes in her artist statement. “That is, I found myself literally a part of my physical world and yet feeling as if I occupied a parallel universe, one much more visceral and yet less well-defined than I had ever experienced before.”

To see online versions of Satterfield’s paintings and read more about her motivation, visit
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