“#26” (1961) by John McLaughlin.
“McLaughlin was working from a Japanese foundation, not a European foundation,” said Christopher Knight. “The avant-garde in New York was all about the transfer of avant-garde ideas from European modernism to New York. McLaughlin working in southern California, and having lived in Japan and spend a good deal of time in India and China and in the Pacific region before and during after the war, was working from a whole different point of view.
“So his work, in some respects conceptually couldn’t be seen. People didn’t know exactly what they were looking at. If you’re looking at a geometric abstraction -- a very hard-edge, simplified geometric abstraction -- and are thinking about art, you’re thinking about European precedence, not about Asia.
“So as the art world has become less focused on its European roots and has become more international, people are beginning to understand the place that McLaughlin was working from. His work does owe something to Mondrian and to Kazimir Malevich. But they’re framed within a particular Japanese aesthetic of the void, as a place in which consciousness and perception can emerge.”