Tag Archives: grids

In the Hold

This famous piece by David Bomberg really is good. First of all, the subject, namely a ship, is pretty interesting, and more so when we remember how Klee would have done it—with sails on the horizon, a real cliché. Bomberg’s … Continue reading

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Stanley Whitney

The last few posts have been circling around an idea that I think is pretty important, grounded as it is in studio practice but with implications for history and even for our understanding of time. I keep thinking about something … 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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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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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

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Outdoors

Human beings are just an ordinary part of the biosphere, and the biosphere is our limit. We will never be anything other than animals and all cosmic dreams are just that – dreams. Space flight is bound to fail because … 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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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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Alexis Harding

One of my favorite contemporaries is Alexis Harding, an old friend. I think he uses gravity in a very good way, with a lot of intervention on the way down. He pours a grid of commercial enamel over artist’s oils, … 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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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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Stella and the Past

Stella reveals a lot about his ambitions in the following comments on ceiling painting: “Pietro da Cortona, Fra Pozzi and even Tiepolo met the challenges of architectural decoration in a more measured, distanced manner than their predecessors. They worked the … Continue reading

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Noise

Following from the previous post, as an example of visual noise I would like to present any abstract work by Gerhard Richter. Pictures like this are the high class, supremely tasteful equivalent of stadium rock, a sclerotic form if there … Continue reading

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Alighiero Boetti

A latecomer to Boetti’s work, I have no expertise in it. Right now I’m looking at this grid piece, “Niente da vedere niente da nascondere,” or “Nothing to see nothing to hide.” The title really adds something, and bears thought, … Continue reading

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Bad Art

Going back to the conversation between Christopher Green and T.J.Clark that I mentioned before, one of Clark’s comments bothered me. He said that “hack” artists, bad ones, are certain that they have found the right way to render modernity. In … Continue reading

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One thing beside another

Many abstract paintings, especially of the brushy variety, are collections of marks, shapes, strokes, glimpses, stuff all banging around on the canvas. In this they are just like life, which is also a matter of floating planes that get in … Continue reading

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Shaped canvas 4

I’m happily surprised to find that this blog can be very productive for my work. I open my mouth to express what I believe, and find that I don’t believe it any more. I’ve been too doctrinaire about the organic … Continue reading

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A correction

Mitchell is usually grouped with the so-called second generation of abstract expressionists, and therefore automatically discounted. This is not right. If I could re-jig the canon of abstract expressionism I would definitely drop Rothko and include Mitchell. I saw this … Continue reading

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So far

This blog is getting complex, and though I’m glad to be getting comments on older posts I’m also afraid that some good moments will be lost because of the very nature of a blog, which is that it is always … Continue reading

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Stately verticals

I can defend my constant harping on the need to reject the grid for a new departure in abstraction. Maybe not totally new, but new enough. It’s a critique of a common, in fact widely accepted feature of existing abstract … Continue reading

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Restoration

In the previous post I raised the stakes for my own work considerably, but before backing my bet I’ll explain what I meant by the last sentence of that post. Sometime in the late sixties or early seventies, it became … Continue reading

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Vagueness and ambiguity

To talk about voiding the subject and art as nature is fascinating to me, and maybe to others, but it’s also probably too general, too abstract. All kinds of uninteresting work could qualify. As an artist I’m a pragmatist, not … Continue reading

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Infinity

Infinity is a trope—for all the possibilities not realized, paths not taken, forms not shaped, decisions not made, choices not faced. It appears in art as the illusion of an unbounded area. That’s the good kind of infinity, an emptiness … Continue reading

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Lines in Space

A little while ago I received the following note from Richard Shiff, referring to an earlier post: “I agree with these lines of yours, with regard to Judd … ‘I think that an artist like Judd would probably assent, but … Continue reading

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Grids Part 5

In a recent conversation with painter Yunhee Min I was provoked to the following thought about grids: What I find most interesting in what you are saying is your use of geometry to make an origin for yourself. [referring to … Continue reading

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Newtonian Abstraction

In the Newtonian system there is a stable framework within which all bodies can be placed, an absolute space, an empty box that extends in all directions. Newton himself understood this as a simplification, and it is viewed by scientists … Continue reading

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Grids in the World

It is possible that my argument that grids are too conceptual, meaning that they are too much a pre-existent form and therefore block experience, might apply less to three dimensional work than to two dimensional. So, apropos of Morellet, for … Continue reading

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Island Folds

A series of works in which I tried something similar were the Island Folds, made of sheets of paper cut into irregular polygons and attached directly to the wall. The empty sections, which revealed the wall, were also irregular polygons, … Continue reading

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The Grid and the Rectangle

As far as I know, there are two ways to negate the edge of a picture, and each one has the effect of drawing attention to that edge. The classical, frieze like arrangement uses verticals and horizontals and in modern … Continue reading

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Grids Part 4

My objection to the grid has always been its a priori nature. It’s worse now that it is very widely, if not universally, taken as a given. I heard Richard Tuttle say something to the effect that in the absence … Continue reading

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