Transitional Paintings

As the sixties wore on and the war in Vietnam intensified, Strong became more involved in the counterculture of San Francisco... It was a time for experimentation - societally as well as artistically - and this is evident in both the imagery and media of his work from this period. 


He began to move into what we now call transitional pieces, in paper and canvas, producing works with painterly surfaces yet a flatter color palette that for the first time display a certain geometric symmetry. 

Altamont, 1970-71, acrylic on canvas, 81" x 106"

Entwining the geometric motifs with curvilinear configurations, the paintings provided him the opportunity to explore new variants of his formal visual vocabulary. 


A, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 68" x 78"

He chose to work solely in acrylic at this time, as he was interested in achieving a broader range of color than was possible with the oils, and in having the option of developing flat fields without a heavy layering of paint.  Strong also experimented with various washes and glazes as he probed the media that would best serve his intent.


Ishi, acrylic on canvas, 79" x 114.25"

Triangles and diagonals dominated his imagery, presaging the Diamond series soon to come... (1)