Tag Archives: Paul Klee

Size and Importance

Further on from the previous post—if Stella was part of a larger, more general response to abstract expressionism, I think the generally accepted understanding of that response has been too limited. We usually hear that it was a reaction against the … Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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Developing Variation

Thinking back to an earlier post in which I described using a finished piece as the “score” for another one, I realize now that the reason the effort didn’t work was because I was burdened by the idea—a rare moment … 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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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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Modernist Method

An example of modernist practice in its purest form might be the paintings of Paul Klee. He starts with a formal idea, a method, a sense of how relationships should play out, and the work is generated from that. Whether … Continue reading

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Angelus Novus

If we accept Benjamin’s reading of Klee’s Angelus Novus, that it is moving backwards into the future while watching the increasing pile up of wreckage we call modernity, then it is also looking at us, who are a little further … Continue reading

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Future Retrospect

Backstory as context stays in the here and now, and so keeps faith with modernism. Backstory as nervous anticipation of future criticism is a retrospective literary mode, and as such recalls Benjamin’s angel, who is always looking backward as he … Continue reading

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