Tag Archives: composition

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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All-overness

Greenberg had this to say about what he regarded as Pollock’s major achievement: “It wasn’t the space. I think the shallow illusion of depth had Cubist antecedents, and of course there was Miró’s indeterminate space. When Bryan Robertson writes about … Continue reading

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Arthoodication

My favorite blog writer, Alfredo Triff, has recently picked up on the article about Stefan Simchowitz that was going around a while ago. He makes his usual great analysis. But what strikes me is that just because a lot of … Continue reading

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Old Matisse a Master

My reservations about T.J.Clark have been expressed on this blog, but I still like to read him, because he’s a rare art historian who actually gets it, who can feel art from the inside, not just shuffle it between theoretical … Continue reading

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Frankenthaler’s Forms

  Just picked up a catalog of Frankenthaler from the late eighties, a big stretch for my taste. Recently there were conflicting assessments of her work on abstract critical. Her admirers are very enthusiastic. Presumably the expressiveness of her works … Continue reading

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A Book of Drawings

Eli Bornowsky sent me a small book of drawings, and I find them very interesting and even inspiring. When some lines cross others with apparently no regard for the configurations already in place, then we have the impression of simultaneous … Continue reading

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A Show of Abstractions

The arbitrariness of abstract form is a permanent condition, and artists can be judged as to how they work with that fact. For myself, I’m on the side of invention, which means I like the way that forms can come … Continue reading

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Cézanne at an Angle

Many of Cézanne’s compositions lean. They have a tilt. The desire to rectify, or straighten out, or balance when a tilt appears is so strong. Learn from Cézanne to go with the lean, and not correct it.

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Combination

  Arp’s blobby shapes are good, and so are Lissitzky’s ruled ones. The artist who comes to mind as most successfully combining the two is late Stella, from Moby Dick or Had Gadya onwards, because the geometry appears as an image rather … Continue reading

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Correspondences

In a great Bridget Riley catalog, I find the following quote from Roger Fry: “The mind of the spectator is held in a kind of thrilled suspense by the unsuspected correspondence of all these related elements. One is filled with … Continue reading

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Preparation 2

Following on from the comparison of states in Stella’s prints, I want to pause over Bridget Riley’s thought process in the states of this painting. One early version looks like two interesting shapes made of orange, tan, white and green … Continue reading

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Leger and Stella

The resemblance of Stella’s Cones and Pillars series and the work of Leger  is pretty clear, although to contemplate it is still interesting. Stella has a true modernist genius for picking up on the least promising sources. This Leger could … Continue reading

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Characterless

I don’t know much about Gaitonde‘s career, the dating of his work, significance of his titles and so on. However, with time it grows on me, so I have to talk about it. He makes me realize that abstractionists often … Continue reading

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Gallerists and Dealers

I just came across a catalog of Picassos in the Nahmad collection. The Nahmad family is an art dealing dynasty that goes back a couple of generations. Recently Helly Nahmad was busted for running an illegal gambling ring in his … Continue reading

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Lauren Luloff

I was struck by a review of a young artist in the NYT. The work seemed at first glance to be in some debt to Stella, which is not a bad thing to be, but checking into her more closely … Continue reading

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Kandinsky Pro and Con

Recently I saw a couple of early abstractions by Kandinsky, which provoke me to revisit the reasons I don’t like them. As it happens, my normal disinterest in the artist has just changed – I’m now strongly disposed in his … Continue reading

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Old and New

Stella’s work always offers the same experience—each new series looks awful at first, and then time reveals its beauties. How much more revealing of quality is a good strong dislike than the bland suspension of judgment most appropriate today. I … Continue reading

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Allover the Same

Jerry Saltz says some amusing things. Here’s an example: “Nowadays we see endless arrays of decorous, medium-size, handsome, harmless painting. It’s rendered mainly in black, white, gray, or, more recently, violet or blue. Much of it entails transfer techniques, silkscreening, … Continue reading

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Basic Unit

I could describe my watercolors as formal/narrative, post-Klee, introspective abstract inventions. This one is based on repetition rather than form, so it might be a little more conceptual than usual, but what makes it interesting now are some recent thoughts … Continue reading

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Disunity

I need to nuance the discussion about unity a bit more. If we think that an artwork is one whole, integrated, single thing, that’s a purely human assessment, and doesn’t really have a material basis. Take any two things and … Continue reading

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Asymmetry

I found this quilt by Sonia Delaunay in the Sydney Paths to Abstraction catalog. I’ve been looking at it for a while, and just realized why I like it, and what it means for abstraction. The parts are not all … Continue reading

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F. Schubert, Abstract Artist

Lately I’m a devoted listener of Schubert’s piano sonatas. A great model for abstraction. Intricate and intellectually formed throughout but non-conceptual, complex and multi-layered but accessible entirely through feeling, light and full of invented forms. If one could make paintings … Continue reading

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Juam

One of the prints from the Imaginary Places series, “Juam,” offers a perspective on Stella’s overcrowded compositions. A first state—much lighter, less labored—was also released, described in a pamphlet dedicated to the piece. As usual the final state is over … Continue reading

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Non Composition

In a text on Martin Barré, Yves-Alain Bois says the following: “…any act of compositional balancing, especially at its most risky, underscores the number of conscious choices that it necessitates and thus becomes a reassuring sign of the cartesian cogito … Continue reading

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Relational Composition

Following from earlier posts that talk about the crowdedness of Stella’s compositions, I’d like to focus and study a design. For a piece like this one, from the Kleist series, painted by assistants from a very large collage, a photograph … Continue reading

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