MONICA TAP: My first encounter with de Kooning was my being very soundly admonished as an undergraduate for spouting off that he was a misogynist. I was told in no uncertain terms that I knew absolutely nothing and should cease making judgments. I later saw the work on trips to New York as part of my undergraduate education, and I was always taken with the expressionist part of his language. The fluidity of the mark-making was something that I especially responded to. But I have to say that before this show, I don’t think I had a grasp of the arc of his career, or an appreciation of the simultaneity of the different ways in which he worked. Conventionally, these ways of working are labeled abstraction and representation, but he seemed not to want to use those terms. He saw them as just being painting, which they very legitimately are.
To read the full interview, pick up issue 121, on newsstands now - or click here to subscribe. Above images: (Left) Willem de Kooning, *Montauk I,** 1969, oil on canvas, 88 x 77”. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund. © 2011 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. (Right) Monica Tap, Tangling with Ghosts, 2011, oil on canvas, 36 x 54”. Courtesy the artist and Wynick/Tuck Gallery, Toronto.*