McCarthy's work doesn't mimic Kahn's

I guess in anticipation that his work would one day be compared to Wolf Kahn [May 5 art review: "Wolf on the horizon: McCarthy channels Kahn landscapes"], I found the attached among his papers. It is amazing that even from the grave, his art knowledge and awareness was (and remains) all encompassing.

The claim that my work looks like Wolfe Kahn's rests largely on the basis of superficial, and therefore factitious, similarities. One might as readily say that Lucien Freud's work resembles Ingres' since both painters are renowned for painting nudes.

While I don't put myself in the same category as any of these great painters, I cannot help but note that Kahn himself has observed, "Landscape, of all representational modes, seems to me the least affected by fashion, politics, trends..." Forcing all dissimilarities that would remove me from a tradition for the sake of mere novelty would not make me a better landscape painter.

While Kahn has certainly been an influence because, perhaps, I believe him to be the greatest, if not the only great, living painter of landscapes, the greater influence is my own rural surroundings. Where Kahn helped me most was in seeing what he referred to as the "overarching abstractions" that inhere in the landscape observed. He's not present, however, when I find them here. For better or worse, I do that on my own. Most landscape painters, it seems to me, either fail to see these abstractions or have other preoccupying concerns.

Landscape painter Lindsay Nolting has referred to me as a "gaudy minimalist." I'll settle for that!

I pass this on as a demonstration of someone whose talent was an inspiration not only to me in my ongoing world of art but to others that he touched as well.

Judy McCarthy
wife of the late John McCarthy