SANTA FE, N.M. — Although he was a founding member of the Washington Color School, a branch of Color Field Painting, Leon Berkowitz (1911-1987) never fully embraced the association. For one thing, he insisted on sticking with oils after many of his peers had switched to acrylic. He said he preferred the “visually seductive resonance and depth” he could obtain with oil. And though many peers considered themselves proponents of “pure” abstraction, Berkowitz also cited poetry, music and physic as influences in his work instead of simple formalistic concerns.
“Unity,” a show of Berkowitz’s abstract paintings from the 1970s opens today at David Richard Gallery in the Railyard Arts District. The paintings, according to gallery co-owner David Eichholtz, illustrate the naturalistic quality of Berkowitz’s abstractions: “subtle and misty transitions of color evocative of the gradual shifts in the forces of nature and the inspiration for the series.”