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Ron Gorchov, painter with curved canvases, dies at age 90

Ron Gorchov, the artist famous for his curved, saddle-shaped canvases, died on Tuesday at the age of 90.

Gorchov’s death was announced by Cheim and Reed Gallery of New York, which had co-represented him. Ron Gorchov was most famous for his curved canvases that almost made them a sculpture in their own right. These saddle-type canvases were sometimes stacked across the wall. Gorchov used to staple linen to the frames and painted them white, followed by layers of several colours. The end result didn’t hide the staples and left underlying colours exposed – but Gorchov preferred this ‘clumsy’ style. He said in a 2013 interview that he didn’t seek perfection; he liked the illusion of perfection.

Gorchov, Tyché, 2015. Oil on Linen.

Ron Gorchov has been applauded over the years for his commitment to abstract painting at a time when most artists were abandoning the medium. While a large chunk of artists moved towards Minimalism since the 1970s, Gorchov stuck to his guns and collaborated with painters like Bill Jensen and Robert Mangold. While many art critics and historians consider painting of low importance in the second half of the 20th century, Gorchov didn’t mind. He believed that if painting has “lasted 40,000 years, why not another 40,000 years? OK, let’s say it’ll only last another 10,000 years, why should it come to a dead stop?”

Ron Gorchov was born in Chicago in 1930. He was interested in art since he was a child. After taking classes at Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Illinois, he shifted to New York in 1953 with his family. This was a time when Abstract Expressionism was the rage in New York, but Gorchov decided to stick to his style – painting. He got his first show in 1960 at Tibor de Nagy Gallery, gaining positive notes from critics.