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August 19, 2017

Les Fauves

FauvismI love it when a sentiment hurled with the intent to hurt is embraced and used to turn that hurt into power. That's exactly how it happened with the Fauvists ... namely Henri Matisse, Andre Derain, and others whose colorfully loud works in a Paris art show caused a critic to describe their works as being made by "les fauves," which is French for "the wild animals."

Fauvism ushered in Expressionism where artists' rebellion toward Realism sought to turn the conventions of classical art upside down ... with the main purpose being to emancipate artists' feelings from the shackles of convention and allowing such feelings, no matter how animalistic or neurotic or weird, to be expressed.

Wassily Kandinsky is a Russian painter who was in concert with the wild animalistic ways that Fauvists championed color and was very experimental and radical in his ideas about painting ... including the idea that for art to be free from subjectivity, color needed to exist without form. He wanted his abstract use of color to be expressed in the spirit of music ... that is, he wanted his formless colors on canvas to exude what he viewed as complete freedom found in music.

All of this makes me think about this beautiful painting I made. Actually, I made it accidentally. A throw-away plate that I used as a makeshift paint palette. But sometimes, I look at plates like these and think how beautiful they are ... could it ba a plate of abstracted flowers? Abstracted pieces of fruit? Does it matter?

Some would argue that it matters. Some would argue that beauty that happens by accident isn't as valuable as beauty that happens with intent.

To which I sort of agree and sort of disagree. Painters who don't have musical training might mistakenly think that all music is a formless expression of beauty but actually music has its own set of rules. Notes exist on a clef, in a key, and if a piece of music sounds free and beautiful it's usually because it has been written within a structure of theory that works.

But then there's abstracted music ... like free jazz and music that comes out in jams without scores or theory ... where musicians just feel it and out come notes ... some rooted in theory and some accidentally and extemporaneously ... and when we hear it ... whether they are rooted in theory or birthed accidentally, if they move us, we dance.



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