American painter, Milton Avery, is known for his mature style in the 1950s. His work is characterized by self-teaching and experimentation, making him one of the seminal abstract painters in America. Among his most famous works is “White Wave” painted on a canvas in 1954.
“White Wave,” features three sections of pure color: an inky black sea, a small band of frothy white waves, and a vast spread of warm taupe sand. It’s a painting that doesn’t concern itself with creating an illusion of depth but rather focuses on the relationships between colors. The image captures an ethereal uniform light that seems unmoored from time and without human figures to disturb its serenity.
An Avery retrospective at the Modern Art Museum showed how he worked on shapes and defining them with his subtle and calm colors. Despite it being over sixty years old now, “White Wave” remains relevant today as it touches upon themes such as nature’s beauty which are timeless.
The painting can be interpreted in many ways depending upon the viewers; to some, it may represent tranquility while to others it represents endless possibilities by showing no signs of limits. Notably, Avery’s mastery at incorporating color theory into artistic expression has made White Wave one of his most alluring paintings even after all these years.