Olitski versus fear

I was flicking through a magazine the other day and I became increasingly aware of the style of adverts in there. Then walking through town I saw the same thing everyhere - the way an adverts works seems to have undergone a subtle but disturbing change (of late or for a while and I am only noticing it now). Whereas adverts used to encourage you to go out and buy a product to buy into a 'dream', they now seem to be using fear as a tool to communicate a message - if you don't go out and buy this product... you're a loser. Fear has become a shadow over our culture. If art hasn't got the trappings of seriousness (dark colours, grimy surfaces, acidic contrasts) then it is deemed frivolous .Decorative is used as a perjorative term. Look for instance at how Olitski's obituaries discussed his form of art - placing it historically, dismissing it etc etc. The overall feeling I had was of inadequate writers way way out of their depth discussing an art that made no apologies for its ambition to be 'high' , to delight (Poussin would applaud), to question its making and fundamentally to seek to add to a great tradition by at once challenging and consolidating that tradition through an advanced pictorial language. I often thought that the 'hit and hope'approach only had Olitski doing anything of real value - everyone else's seems superficial. He had such a grounding and feel for Rembrandt, Tintoretto and El Greco to pick out three greats, that this carried into his abstraction - the same weights, passages of colour and dark light contrasts exist in all these works. To call Olitski a minor artist is simply ludicrous - his work included juggernaut paintings as significant as any abstract painting I have seen. And best of all, they were fearless. Fearless of the reception he must have known they would get by a tired art press. They flew in the face of this climate of fear we are living in which is engulphing the western press and fuelling the decadent nonsense of the art world. Though wordly it aint! Parochial it is, bitter, twisted and swaggering - go to any major city and the art is the same. It has become a visual currency that ultimately is bankrupt.
I met Jules Olitski in 1994. He bought me lunch in Hartford CT and showed me the monotypes he had been making. He sent me one of his books as a gift and wrote a warm message inside. I thought him a great artist then and I still do today. His work is there to bear my view out. I don't need to defend it. I often react against it in a positive way - the danger is to be overwhelmed by it as it sits smack in then centre of your way if you are a painter.You must some how deal with it. He was not as great as Matisse - nobody has reached that level, but he made some outstanding works and contrary to much of popular opinion, the better works are the later ones (post heavy gels not the spray paintings) Check these works out late 90's onwards - there are major works here.His way I feel is not mine. I would ally myself with the approach of Matisse. Maybe someone like Velasquez would have been on Olitski's journey. There are many routes in painting. I salute a trail blazer.