Richard Pousette-Dart, Meditation on the Drifting Stars, 1962-63, oil on linen

 Richard Pousette-Dart, Meditation on the Drifting Stars, detail

One of the younger, and perhaps less famous, members of the first generation of New York School painters, Richard Pousette-Dart pursued a highly personal, quasi-mystical investigation that grew steadily more focused. An exhibition at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine (through September 16, 2018), titled Painting/Light/Space, features work from what I think is his most brilliant period, from the early 1960's to the mid-'70s. Here Pousette-Dart has worked his way out of Surrealism, and its depictive tendencies, arriving at a free and open dialogue with the painting language -- a direct transposition of pure sensation in which experience is embodied in color.

The large scale works in this thrilling exhibition are built of small dabs of thick paint, layered over time to form undulating atmospheres that are also crusty objects. Color relations are intuitively constructed and deeply soulful, reflecting a vision that is both ecstatic and meditative. These are timeless and expansive paintings that, in both intention and form, are as ancient as they are utterly contemporary.

 Richard Pousette-Dart, Golden Presence, 1961, oil on linen

 Richard Pousette-Dart, Magnetic Space, 1962, oil on linen

 Richard Pousette-Dart, Presence, Amaranth Garden #1, 1974, oil on linen

 Richard Pousette-Dart, Presence, Amaranth Garden #1, detail

 Richard Pousette-Dart, Hieroglyph Number 7 (Hieroglyph of Light), 1968-69, oil on linen

 Richard Pousette-Dart, Hieroglyph Number 7 (Hieroglyph of Light), detail

 Richard Pousette-Dart, White Silence, 1974, acrylic on canvas

Richard Pousette-Dart, Radiance Number 8 (Imploding Red Light), 1973-74, oil on linen