11 December 2012

Abstract Painting

The inventors of the original movement were mostly American as a response to the war-like European painting that resembled a "window."  Blaming European culture for inventing war (wrong) they decided to rebel.  Clement Greenburg may be more responsible than anyone just because of putting words to it.

The aspirations were pure.  Create a new language of color and form.  Like an infinite emotional alphabet.  It never advanced beyond the experimental phase though, it could have actually become a language.  Spikey shapes are harsh, round shapes are friendly etc.  There were rules though:  no light source, no illusion of depth.  Must be flat.  I looked upon the masters and decided that like details in nature, painting could be abstract and still have light source and depth... my emotions felt 3d.

I did abstract painting for 18yrs.  I did them big, as big as would fit in the back of my pickup truck.  50" x 70".  I wanted you to feel you could walk into them.  I sold and gave away all but 2 of them.  Enormous amounts of paint.  Usually painted in black and white and covered with translucent layers of colored paint suspended in varnish to create a glowing effect.  I milled, engineered, assembled and stretched all my own stretcher bars and canvas.

I loved the jazz like quality of painting this way.  There was no plan, just a feeling and as a painting takes many days to complete, I would bring to the canvas each days' experience which would add to the composition.  Paintings seemed to have no top or bottom.

The last show I had of this work was 2004 at the Alamo Gallery in Steinfeld Warehouse Tucson.

I started to wander away from the idea when I encountered so many abstract painters I realized it was finally not so unique anymore after more than half a century.  I also wandered away from an internal exploration to an external one.  But I still have my ideas about what makes a good abstract painting and continue to use the ideas in work I do now.

1.  The brush strokes need to make me forget it was painted.
2.  Convince me of the world presented to me, it must be true to it's own laws of physics.
–  By laws of physics I mean it must define it's own light, gravity and mass.
3.  I need to believe that it is real somehow in whatever universe it exists, then I can get into it.

I think the above 3 points are actually the same point.  If a painting is purely "emotive" there should at least be some kind of consistency and a communication of scale be it through color, stroke size etc adding reference for the viewer.  Like nature and the fractal idea, smaller parts around the similar larger parts, just so there is some kind of reference to the framework being set up.

Photos are examples of my paintings from this time period.

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