Howard Mehring

Born 1931, Washington, D.C.
Died 1978, Washington, D.C.



Magna paint on unprimed canvas

(Magna was a precursor to acrylic paint)

I want the surface of my paintings to breathe color so that I am able to look into the painting and penetrate it visually.        

                                              Howard Mehring

 Like Morris Louis, Howard Mehring was a member of the Washington D.C. Color Field Painters.  He usually worked rapidly and impulsively on unstretched and unsized cotton duck, creating layers of thin washes that he said brought about a sense of richness and depth, ambiguously maintaining flatness.  Like Jackson Pollock, Mehring poured, drizzled and brushed paint onto raw canvas lain on the floor.  Unlike Pollock, however, Mehring diluted his paint to a watercolor-like consistency that penetrated the cloth to create a saturated and meditative serenity.  Black is an example of a period of Mehring’s work known as the Allovers, in which he produced fields of mottled colors with a rich, almost mossy depth that when first seen appear to be a single color.  It is suggested that the somber tones of paintings such as Black were influenced by Rembrandt’s self-portraits at the National Gallery of Art, where Mehring often studied.  He once said of the Vermeers there that “energy seemed to come from the bottom and burst forth”- an apt description for Mehring’s own paintings.