Tag Archives: composition

More Complex Form

One couldn’t come up with an artist further from the concerns of modern day, formalist inclined abstraction than George Eliot—her novels are all about moral challenges. I can hardly express my esteem for what she did, and who she was. … Continue reading

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Repeating Patterns

As in all improvisation, patterns tend to recur. In fact, the more open and free the improv, the more subject it is to repetition. This is something I’ve learned from music, and this is why preparation helps a lot. Art … Continue reading

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Abstract Order

Following on from the previous post, Stella’s manner in the late prints especially, but also in many of his reliefs, is to be vivid, crazy, overloaded and loud. That’s what puts a lot of viewers off. It’s a style and … Continue reading

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Formal Principle

I’ve been trying to work out exactly what kind of order Stella is aiming for, looking at the prints and late paintings. I think that to avoid an ordering principle is probably, for Stella, a kind of abstraction. The topic … Continue reading

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Collage at the Beginning

Years ago, in her book on abstraction, Briony Fer suggested that collage was at the origin of the practice. I didn’t know what importance to attach to that idea, but I liked it. Her examples were collages by the Russian … Continue reading

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Collage #10

This largish (48×48″) collage follows the same pattern as #s 5&8—it has a rectangle within the rectangle, a plane within the plane, a picture within the picture. It’s over an old painting in enamel on wood, and I was afraid … Continue reading

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Bigger and Better

In some quarters one hears the claim that bigger means more serious or more ambitious. Not necessarily, because bigger doesn’t necessarily mean more. It’s one way to get attention in the world, and maybe does indicate a desire to get … Continue reading

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Jonathan Lasker

Back in the day (can’t remember how long ago) Jonathan Lasker’s paintings seemed inevitable. Maybe not so now. But they had a beautiful objectivity, with their squirming lines that looked like they came out of cake decorator’s tool. Looking back … Continue reading

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Stories in Stories

Stella’s large sculpture, The Town-Ho’s Story, is, among other things, a collection of smaller pieces. I’ve mentioned this before, but as I suggested in the previous post, parts of the main body of the work could also be seen separately, … Continue reading

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A Heap of Scrap Metal

On a train passing a scrap yard the piles of twisted shiny metal pieces remind me of Stella’s sculpture in Chicago. You might call the pile a piece of abstract art, in the “all over” mode, but Stella’s work is … Continue reading

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A Different Frame

This collage is like #5 in the way that the frame within the frame is handled—it’s less of an image than the others, more abstract in a way. But also, unlike #s 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7, the arrangement … Continue reading

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Arrived

Of course all arrivals are temporary, but this collage looks done. Had a bit of doubt as to how the increase in size (4×3′) would throw off the scale relation between the watercolor patches and the larger flat areas of … Continue reading

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Next Collage

Here is a new work underway. In a couple of weeks I hope to show how much these things change for the better as they go on. This one is a step up in size—48×36 inches, instead of 22×28, and … Continue reading

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Collage

I was posting images of my new collages about once a week or so, but recently been spending too many hours at the day job. This one went along pretty slowly, but it did move in the right direction: toward … Continue reading

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Domes and Circles

In general you could say that Stella’s prints are where he keeps touch with the normative form of art—two dimensional and bounded by a rectangle. The relief paintings and sculpture break right out of the frame, and the prints are … Continue reading

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Over the Circle

Readers familiar with my blog are probably wondering why I haven’t started in again on Frank Stella. Just waiting. Have many thoughts, and following on the theme of recent posts about Kandinsky there is an opportunity to say something. Stella … Continue reading

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The Possibilities

Following along with Noland in the previous post, to bear down on what seem like small decisions in the art of the sixties and seventies—they were presented as momentous changes in those days so inevitably began to seem small—is one … Continue reading

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Unbalanced

A Kenneth Noland piece like this one opens up a space any abstractionist should find attractive to enter, best described in Noland’s own words: “It’s been on my mind—what would something be like if it were unbalanced? It’s been a … Continue reading

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Play

Further to the delightful arbitrariness of Kandinsky’s work, this piece offers many small and exemplary decisions. The image looks like a door viewed at an oblique angle. Inside it are a number of what could be small circular doors that … Continue reading

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The Liteness of Kandinsky

I’ve always had problems with Kandinsky. One is his scaleless space, but more about that another time. Another, which I’ve only just began to clarify for myself, is the arbitrariness of his arrangements. There’s no reason why they have to … Continue reading

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Work

Lately I’ve been making a series of collages, all roughly the same size—22×28″, sometimes a bit smaller or larger—and find it tough going. In abstract art the temptation is always to accept early results, and that question gets more complicated … Continue reading

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Artist of Conflict, Artist of Repression

In our time the great artist of conflict is Frank Stella. His over busy and crowded compositions are nothing other than a battle of forms—and to say that doesn’t mean they are not also a dance of forms and a … Continue reading

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Oil Transfer

Seems I was a bit off in my description of Klee’s technique in the previous post. Don’t know where the information comes from, but here is a description from another blog: “His ‘oil-transfer’ was essentially a home-made tracing system. A … Continue reading

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Torn Paper and Paint

Lately have no money to buy watercolour paper, so have been tearing up some problematic pictures for collages. The process is a compromise between my natural simplicity and the pleasures of more. I think the balance is struck, in this … Continue reading

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Putting Pieces Together

This is the kind of collage I like to see from Motherwell, though there aren’t many like it. Parts of it resemble Arp’s torn paper collages, discussed earlier on this blog. It doesn’t escape from the pattern of blocky figures … Continue reading

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Other Figures

I’ve been looking at (and reading) a catalogue of Motherwell’s early collages. It has to be said that Motherwell is one of the important reference points for abstraction today. This is hardly a common view, but as a practitioner I … Continue reading

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Figure

This collage by Robert Motherwell is exceptional, in my opinion. It has a kind of cleanness and freshness that puts it over the top professionally, though those are not necessary qualities in any modern art, certainly not in collage, which … Continue reading

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Other Reliefs

Blog reader Kizi Spielmann Rose kindly sent me some shots of Stella’s recent work. He seems himself to respond to energy in art, and has taken up the relief painting method accordingly, with gusto, as evidenced in this image. Some … Continue reading

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Starry Reflections

My theory about Pollock’s Reflection of the Big Dipper is that the title should be taken literally. It shows reflections of clouds, stars and tree branches in a puddle. I just saw the piece in person for the first time … Continue reading

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Why Abstract?

In what lies the abstraction?

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