Tag Archives: figuration

Crouching Woman

Going back to look again at William Tucker’s book, I find my original impression confirmed—it’s really great. Ideas come tumbling out at every turn of the page. Here’s one insight from the chapter on Rodin: “With the Prodigal Son and … Continue reading

Posted in Abstract Sculpture, Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | 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

Marlene Dumas

At the Stedelijk, I had a brief chance to see a Marlene Dumas retrospective. Since she lives in Amsterdam it must have been a satisfying show for her. I was expecting to admire her faces, and a wall of ink … Continue reading

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

Sculpture Figurative and Abstract

Lane Relyea has an original perspective on the work of sculptors such as Rachel Harrison and Isa Genzken: “What we are looking at here, after all, is figurative sculpture…who or what exactly is it representing?” He answers: “…in the new … Continue reading

Posted in Abstract Sculpture, Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Ethics of Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Abstract Sculpture, American Modernism | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Chaos Shimmering Through

In an old copy of the NYRB I just found an article about Alfred Brendel, who quotes the poet Novalis: “Chaos, in a work of art, should shimmer through the veil of order.” So now I can see where Ehrenzweig … Continue reading

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

Why Abstract?

In what lies the abstraction?

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

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

Posted in Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Current Affairs, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Late Barré

Late Barré is unexpectedly charming. This series is built on a grid with diagonals, with certain sections filled in, most not. And the consequent forms are carefully placed to avoid obvious lining up of the edges. A sophisticated deployment of … Continue reading

Posted in 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

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

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

Light and Abstract Form

My normal and somewhat unreflective view of this early Leger has always been that there is an unresolved conflict between the imagery – the obvious chair, side table, cup, folded   fingers – and the large abstract white and black … Continue reading

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

Two Big Attack Painters

Recently came across two dedicated and serious practitioners of abstract art – Dona Nelson and Jackie Saccoccio. I like their work, both of them, but my objection to it is what they have in common – they are both “big … Continue reading

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

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

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

A Muddy Spring

Among the Picabias mentioned in an earlier post is one called The Spring, so presumably lacking the dancing figures. The writer in the Inventing Abstraction catalog observes that this spring looks pretty muddy, that the colors of the picture might … Continue reading

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

Wood Nymphs

Leger’s work is very odd. This piece, a kind of a breakthrough for him, is really bizarre. While contemplating the craziness of this work, I find in the MOMA Invention of Abstraction catalog two large cubist Picabias I had never heard … Continue reading

Posted in Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Again

The three abstract watercolors with erotic associations didn’t sell on eBay, so I’m trying three more, this time a bit more formalist. The results are disappointing, but not necessarily final. I just sold five watercolors in Toronto, so have every … Continue reading

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

Clownish

This piece was my second Island painting. At the time I thought of it as my clown painting, and clowns – from Bruce Nauman to Paul McCarthy – were very present in art at that time. In painting, Gary Hume’s … Continue reading

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

Studio Show

I recently published a review of the work of Jeff Tutt, an artist also mentioned earlier on this blog. I can’t add much more to what I said in the review, except that it might be too much about local … Continue reading

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

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

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

Origins

I’ve been looking at a recent catalog of Rothko’s works of the forties, the so-called “multiforms.” My friend Andreas Neufert is a big admirer of these works, but personally I find it hard to get interested. Yet Harry Cooper’s essay … Continue reading

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

Character

The Caro piece I put up in an earlier post is an interior, and the window is one of the great modern images, used by both Picasso and Matisse, among others. When Caro’s work is landscape, or any kind of … Continue reading

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

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

Posted in American Modernism, Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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

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

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.

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

Animation

Looking once again at Stella’s Moby Dick works, I’m struck by how intensely animate they are. Animals, figures, whatever you want to see—and it’s evident again how the obvious is so hard to notice, and always the most important thing, … Continue reading

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

Landscape Contra Figure

The view that abstract art derives from landscape is venerable, and if we look at Kandinsky, Mondrian and other early abstractionists, not far-fetched. Ehrenzweig makes the following observation: “In my view, the dehumanization of Western art began when the contemplation … Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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