Gene Davis, Black Grey Beat, 1964, 90 3/4" x 187", acrylic on canvas (Smithsonian)

Any discussion about color in abstract painting should eventually come around to Gene Davis. Working his whole career in D.C., away from the NY mainstream, he was never really given his due in his lifetime; but his work has been showing up pretty frequently lately (maybe thanks to strong representation by Charles Cowles). It has certainly sustained its intensity, and maybe even looks fresher now than it did back then. Davis really understood how potential meaning resides in color resonances, and made the endless exploration of color potency the primary focus of his work.