Tag Archives: series

Style of Work

What makes Stella so productive (and you have to investigate to find out how much, because most of the work is not widely known) is a two part process. First lots of planning and preparation, then head long improvisation and … Continue reading

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Another Kind of Artist

I find this woman‘s work fascinating. Over a period of many years Isabelle Mège persuaded prominent photographers to shoot her portrait. Now she is regarded as the artist. The feminist side of what she is doing is obvious and the … Continue reading

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Table Pieces

Anthony Caro’s Table Pieces are really great, and as far as I can see they are all great, and there are literally hundreds.

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Had Gadya Again

Just for the pleasure of it I want to make another Stella print/study comparison. The Had Gadya works reward the effort. From the first resolved version of this piece to the final, the scribbly bits are quite changed. The scribbles … 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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Another Way

Recently came across these words of Beethoven, relevant to my work because I’ve been listening to a lot of classical music as a kind of research into form: “The working out in breadth, length, height and depth begins in my … Continue reading

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Moments

Like The Garden of Forking Paths, the story by Borges, or the theoretical physicists fantasy of multiple universes appearing like soap bubbles in each other—each moment forks off into many possibilities, and each one of those forks further. In reality … Continue reading

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Complex Process

It takes an effort of imagination for an ordinary viewer to recapture the enormous difficulty of Stella’s methods in the reliefs—time consuming, and requiring the coordination of many different activities and people. First he has to plan the work with … Continue reading

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Dokoupil

I always felt an affinity with J.G.Dokoupil, confirmed in spades by this interview, which I recommend to everyone. Dokoupil could be called a conceptual painter, and I’m a non-conceptual artist, so we should have a lot in common.

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More Preparation

Been reading the memoirs of Antoni Tapies. I find them bland and a little disappointing for an artist of his stature, but here is one interesting observation: “A moment of lucidity will also free the artists from many hours of … Continue reading

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Pulses

Been reading Emerson. He confirms something mentioned more than once on this blog: “Nature hates calculators; her methods are saltatory and impulsive. Man lives by pulses; our organic movements are such; and the chemical and ethereal agents are undulatory and … Continue reading

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How to continue

I’ve found that my smaller works tend to have more parts, and more detail. They are more intensive, you might say. The beauty of the larger works is in their ease and simplicity, but just today I looked at some … Continue reading

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The Series

In my view, Richter’s important contributions to abstraction have been the color charts and something that I call “the edition of unique works.” The latter might be the most important, and I have talked about it on this blog. But … Continue reading

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Painting Off

Today one often hears painters whine about the supposed marginal status of their favorite medium in the art world. In 1991 Stella offered the following words of comfort: “Because we accept so readily the idea of the manageable whole or … Continue reading

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Cutting the book

In his Kleist series Stella hit on a very good way to use literature. For his version of Kleist’s “Betrothal in Santo Domingo” he took six short speeches by five characters in the story and made a piece to embody … Continue reading

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Modes of Abstraction and Styles of Writing

Robert Wallace has shown me that I was mistaken about Stella’s work, as in fact many are. Though at first sight the Moby Dick works seem attractively chaotic, it would be wrong to assume that they have a fundamental arbitrariness, … 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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The Contingent

Another important concept stressed by Stephen Jay Gould, one that is very much relevant to art, is contingency. He is talking about the possible pathways of evolution, but in art we could say that all works begin contingently and move … Continue reading

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Inventors of forms

Why abstraction has to be literary in some sense, is, as Stella has also pointed out, because otherwise it may not have enough of the meanings that we care about, that it may be thin, shallow and dessicated. As Wallace … Continue reading

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Literary Form

In his book on the Moby Dick series, Robert Wallace explains how Stella builds links between disparate works by repeating elements. What is most interesting is that this is also how the novel is structured; motifs appear at intervals, building … Continue reading

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Putting shapes together

I’ve been reading Robert Wallace’s book on Frank Stella’s Moby Dick, and finding it very inspiring and important. More about the book itself later, but right now I want to keep thinking about Stella. Wallace says “he…[sees]…himself primarily as a … Continue reading

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Time and the Work

Following from the preceding post, the movement of the work, which usually means the movement from work to work in a series, should resemble in its effects the real movement of time—works eating each other up. For this to happen … Continue reading

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Art and the Inhuman

Following on from the previous post, the way that paintings overcome the necessary limits of a single work attributable to a single author is through the objectivity of the aesthetic, but this is not well understood today because both viewers … 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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A Constant Unknown

Start from the position that the backstory or critical pre-text, or in fact any of the textual elements of the discursive mode, are ways to make explicit what is unknown (unconscious?), implicit, suggested or unspoken in the work of art, … Continue reading

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Tapies

Just an in-between post to acknowledge the passing of Antoni Tapies, a great artist. I first came to appreciate his work a few years ago when I saw a show of his prints in Barcelona. They are in what I … Continue reading

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The Foundation Pit

“And why are you dying, Mama? From being bourgeois—or from death?” “I got bored,” said the mother, “I’m worn out.” “Because you were born long, long ago, and I wasn’t, ” said the little girl. “I won’t tell anyone when  … Continue reading

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Metaphysics of Origins

Adorno, in my favorite apothegm, observed that “there is no origin but ephemeral life.” The murder of Lorca during the Spanish civil war and Lorca’s elegy to the bullfighter Meijas make up the backstory of Motherwell’s Elegies series, but these … Continue reading

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Backstory

On my recent trip to New York I visited Miguel Abreu’s gallery, one of the most important in that city. In fact, it was the only one I had time to visit. The current show crystallized something for me, something … Continue reading

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