Tag Archives: drawing

Crisis Moment

Krasner’s unique style is made of strongly drawn circles, arcs and ellipses. She has a kind of compulsion to go around with her arm. In her case it’s not a limitation and more than a habit—it’s an expressive language that … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lee Krasner

As I said in an earlier post, Lee Krasner gave Pollock’s Easter and the Totem to the MoMA, and I think that was a measure of her regard for that work, which otherwise is not much celebrated. The conventional wisdom … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in American Modernism | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Abstract Sculpture, Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Current Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Invention and Labour

I read recently about Alfons Mucha’s Slav Epic, an allegorical/historical cycle of gigantic paintings, some actually as much as 20 feet high. I’d like to see them, but even before doing so I’m getting tired. Too much work! Mucha is … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carla Accardi

Carla Accardi was another artist I discussed on the blog several years ago, along with fellow Italians Marisa Merz and Giulio Paolini. In the book she inaugurates the formalist, or “formalist,” chapters. She should be better known on this side … Continue reading

Posted in Italian Art, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Literary Modernism

I’ve always been drawn to artists who write their own books and illustrate them—or maybe they are actually writers who also draw. Two obvious ones who come to mind are Mervyn Peake and Bruno Schulz, and I like them both. … Continue reading

Posted in Conceptualism and Painting, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twisting and Lifting

After two posts on geometry that doesn’t line up I want to mention another deviation from the abstract norm found in Noland’s work. Brittle is hardly a word we associate with Noland. Sensuous is the more usual descriptor. But that … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Rain

Thinking about Kandinsky’s disregard for any tight or comprehensive order, I realize that I don’t quite agree. I want an organic kind of closure, if you could call it that. Poussin after nature, as Cézanne described it. Geometry loose, but … Continue reading

Posted in Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Early Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ubiquitous Klee

The narrative of post-war American art is by now pretty dull. It’s hard to say how many really believed it; certainly most artists have always had a broader view of the world. It was probably at base a marketing strategy … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Early Abstraction, Latin American Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in American Modernism, Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in American Modernism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Therese Bolliger

A few years ago I saw the ink drawings of Therese Bolliger, and they have been an important reference for my own watercolors ever since. I found them very inspiring. The ink bleeds to the edge of an area of … Continue reading

Posted in Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost Geometry

What is the substantial difference between an artist who diagrams and fills in completely, and one who diagrams and only partially fills in? Seems to be a lot, as the work of Martin Barré is more attractive than that of … Continue reading

Posted in Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Late Picasso

I’ve been reading some of the writings of Patrick Heron, an artist who suffered somewhat from his extreme eloquence as a writer. He certainly has me beat, and I know what he was up against, because his writing didn’t help … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Appearance and Desire

Nineteenth century artists like Cézanne and Degas believed that if they channeled sexual energy into their work they would get better results. Matisse had the same view. Models should be attractive, but the feelings they aroused had to be transformed … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Early Abstraction, Ethics of Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Illustration and Abstraction

I’ve been enjoying the work of the great British illustrator Brian Wildsmith. He started in the early sixties and it’s not hard to see some influence from Alan Davie, as well as from those perennial undergraduate favorites Klimt and Hundertwasser. Arbitrary … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Book

Long before my recent enthusiasm for the work of Frank Stella, I made a number of small books which are pretty busy and figurative. I’ve had them stuck away for a while because they have a small binding problem not … Continue reading

Posted in Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Inscrutable Klee

Readers of this blog will have noticed that I sometimes allude to T.J.Clark’s articles in the LRB. Recently he reviewed the massive Klee exhibition at Tate Modern. I think he is right to stress that it is very hard for … Continue reading

Posted in Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Painting Collage

Blog reader Naomi Schlinke sent me an example of her recent work. I love seeing the pins that hold the collage together, partly because it means the work isn’t settled, but also because it just looks good.

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Woodcuts

Still dwelling on the Sydney Paths to Abstraction catalog, which I find surprisingly inspiring. Surprising because many of the works have never been among my favorites. But there are two great merits to this show and catalog – the prominent … Continue reading

Posted in Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Circuit Lines

The complexity of Stella’s Circuit series is diabolical. Interesting is that there are relationships that no one could be expected to see, or that, because of the crowdedness of the work, are close to impossible to see, and that the … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vasudeo Gaitonde

Just discovered an important Indian artist, Vasudeo Gaitonde. Apparently he was something of a mentor to Nasreen Mohamedi. His work reaches me variably, as expected. I’ll say more about him in my book, but for now just want to suggest … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Asian Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Early Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment