Taking a look at landmark artworks by Kenneth Noland and Jules Olitski

At the very end of January, Paul Kasmin unveiled two singular shows at two of his Manhattan galleries. The first, “Jules Olitski: Plexiglas, 1986,” focuses on Olitski’s lesser-known acrylic and enamel paintings on Plexiglas. The late artist used Plexiglas to create unique foundations on which he built varying textures and levels of translucence, recalling such natural imagery as ethereal nebulae and earthly marine-life. The works, all created in 1986, are characteristic of Olitski’s play with dimensionality. Olitski, who passed away in 2007, was one of the original 1950s Color Field painters, and he was known for his experimentation with new painting materials and techniques. “OG Challenge-Two,” currently on view at Paul Kasmin gallery, is an otherworldly work featuring two irregular pieces of Plexiglas on which Olitski applied pearlized pigments, laced with reliefs of black paint, to achieve a stunning galactic effect.

In parallel, Paul Kasmin is also hosting “Kenneth Noland: Unbalanced.” Like Olitski, Noland is a Color Field painter, and the show highlights the works he created in the mid and late 1970s. A pioneer of the shaped canvas, Noland used the form of the canvas to generate a unified experience within a color field. He considered the composition’s edge to be as important as that of the center, and his “Rays” (bands of color) often existed only on the outer reaches of the canvas, as exemplified in “Ring” and “Acute,” two works from 1977. Upon Noland’s death in 2010, New York’s Guggenheim Museum held a memorial exhibition in his honor.

Both shows run until February 27 at Paul Kasmin’s galleries in Manhattan.