C-Monster's SFMOMA photo essay today, I realized I had never yet seen Philip Guston's abstract work. Or maybe I have and instead only remember his once famous art world reversal to stylized figurative paintings in the late 60's. In either case, I've seen lots of Guston's later work and always just understood this to be a complete change for someone originally associated with abstraction. Maybe I wasn't paying attention in class, or it's just more common now to see Guston represented with his figurative work.
However, knowing Guston as I did for so long, I think it makes seeing his abstract more exciting - rather than had I been paying attention and properly digested him as an abstract painter than a figurative one. Or maybe, painting today, it's still more common for an artist to follow that linear path: figurative loosening into abstraction.
It's really exciting to see Guston's taming of something like abstraction. And then look back and see the same Guston, just distilled.