Tag Archives: drawing

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

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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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Kandinsky and Stella

The following comparison may or may not be a good one; what caught my eye is the plane sticking forward in the Kandinsky, which could be seen as punctured, and its resemblance to the brown curved and cut plate in … 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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Wilhelm Worringer

Recently I put up a post on Wilhelm Worringer’s classic book, Abstraction and Empathy. It worked off an earlier post about Michel Serres, but I didn’t give it much importance; it was something of a placeholder. But as Mr. Waller … Continue reading

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Drawing in Space

“Drawing in space” is a very important technical development in modern sculpture. Shep Steiner’s study of David Smith’s Hudson River Landscape, and other works, which he kindly let me read, is, as usual, brilliant, and opened up this topic for … Continue reading

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Figure and Landscape

To return to a topic discussed earlier, I mentioned the pastels of Degas, in which he transformed a nude into a landscape—or vice versa. In any case what we have is a work, and we can take it or leave … Continue reading

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Human Beauty

Human beauty has a generic quality. Psychologists have measured the symmetry of faces and demonstrated the typicality of attractiveness, and historians have tracked the varying desirability of body shapes across time—but what anyone actually loves is the flaw, the divergence … Continue reading

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Many Images

My friend Jeff Tutt tells me that he is not satisfied with a shape unless it suggests at least three images. A good approach, and inspiring. He also has a great abstract book.

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The Model

Ehrenzweig on life drawing: “In schools the nudity of the model must not be associated with an individual person. The art student rises above any emotional involvement with the nude woman as a person; he [sic] is encouraged to study … Continue reading

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Colored Lines

One modernist tendency is to eliminate the distinction between color and drawing by reducing the work to colored lines. The idea has a beautiful simplicity and logic. It looks like the artist of this piece has assimilated the late unfinished … Continue reading

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A Different Line

Stella’s line doesn’t have the snap of de Kooning’s. With ready made and geometric shapes he has had little opportunity to develop as a draftsman. I have seen some nice drawing in the later works, on the Moby Dicks, but … Continue reading

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Max Weiler

Max Weiler was an Austrian artist with a long career, during the latter part of which he was an abstractionist, with a strong leaning toward landscape. This piece is shockingly close to Stella’s Moby Dick works, though made of cardboard … Continue reading

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Nasreen Mohamedi

Just discovered a great but lesser known artist—Nasreen Mohamedi. The obvious precursor for a drawing like this one is Agnes Martin, but in feel it recalls Gego. Other drawings are a bit more severe and mechanical. A click will help … Continue reading

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Homage to Gego

This drawing from a couple of years ago is an homage to Gego. Also dedicated to my good friends and inspiring artists Leah James and Alexis Harding.

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Shaped Canvas 8

This piece by Martin Barré is very similar to another by François Morellet shown on this blog over a year ago. The continuation of the line across several discrete panels makes their edges more vivid—the panels punch holes in the … Continue reading

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Swan Engravings

I did not like the Swan Engravings at first—critics talk about rich blacks, but I just saw a dull all-over gray, because I really don’t like that wiped-plate look so much appreciated by intaglio printers. But…having taken a longer and … Continue reading

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Empty Formalism of Education

In an earlier post I implied that university training has not improved contemporary art. Robert Hullot-Kentor reminds me of how profoundly hostile to art the university is: “Ideas make us think; we think ideas. They are what are urgent in … Continue reading

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Figures in a Landscape

Many of my works are figures, and many are landscapes. Since the overall rubric is “Islands,” I guess they are really all figures in a landscape. The figure might be found in the negative space or ocean, so figure and … Continue reading

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Polly Apfelbaum

I will soon add an interview with Polly Apfelbaum to the Publications page—actually a conversation between her and artist Kelly Jazvac. I very much admire this piece for its negative areas, the way that they flow together and make chains … Continue reading

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Pragmatic Matisse

When artists talk about art they are usually more down to earth and concrete than theorists or critics. But even most artists get vague and wooly when they leave technique and try to express essences. Matisse was exemplary in his … Continue reading

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A Flat Bird

In the catalog of the Stella retrospective in Wolfsburg I find a surprising member of the Exotic Birds series. At eight feet wide it is hardly a sketch, but it looks exactly like the preliminary drawings for that series. Most … Continue reading

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How Hummingbird?

Yesterday I saw a show by Patrick Howlett. It fit well with my recent thoughts on Stella because Howlett’s work is also distinguished by sheer pictorial invention. Abstraction should not mean but be, to paraquote a famous poet. The largest … Continue reading

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The Facts

This blog has given a fair amount of time to Frank Stella, and my attention was moving to other things—there are a few posts coming up on the topic of time. However, my interest in Stella has just been revived … Continue reading

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All at once

I have to thank Mr. Stella for testifying to the strength of my own work, although he didn’t realize he had done so. He says that printmaking has “…one legitimate claim to superiority over painting,…it [creates] the surfaces it articulates … Continue reading

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The Mortality of the Work

I have belatedly found out that three of my pictures were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. When contemplating disaster, studio fires or things like that, I always thought I could handle it fine, because the important thing is the energy that … Continue reading

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Biomorphic

The previous comments on Hofmann and Stella started me thinking about this work. Most of the Moby Dick works combine the curvy forms of the wave/whale shapes with geometrical sections, but this one is completely biomorphic, maybe even expressionist. The … Continue reading

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Entangled

The interlacing method offers a beautiful dance of forms, as complex and layered as one could want, unified through the unbroken flow of line. Clearly, this is an important source for Pollock. But also important are all the pictorial possibilities, … Continue reading

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Profile

Some of the Moby Dick works present a clearly defined boundary or profile, which closes them off—at least from the front. From the side they will look very different. But what interests me is the articulation of form inside the … Continue reading

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Stella’s Color

Among other things, the Moby Dick series marks a real advance in color. Stella’s color always had a dash of the arbitrary, which was one of its most interesting features. Personally I give the Protractors, along with Richter’s Color Charts, … Continue reading

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