Loading

13 posts categorized "Art&Activism"

August 13, 2017


Cubism and the Tomato


TomatoCubism is the movement that preceded abstract expressionism ... incubating the grand rebellion against realism ... a rebellion that still exists in contemporary art. Basically, cubists argued that a still life painting of a tomato fell short of showing the entire truth of that tomato and that the way to remedy that was to show all aspects of the fruit all at the same time. And in order to do that, the tomato needed to be shattered/fragmented and then all its parts and pieces painted on the canvas all at the same time. If a tomato were made of delicate glass, the analogy would be more vivid, as the shattered pieces of a glass tomato (rather than a real one with juice and seeds) would better reflect the pointed angles found in cubist work. 

I appreciate the experimental nature of Cubism (and its sister movement, Futurism). I respect and admire experimentalism in general. The criticism I have is in the notion that there are only things to gain and nothing to lose by shattering and distorting a subject. Indeed, there are things to gain. I mean, I really dig it when I can actually see the nude woman walking down a staircase (as in Marcel Duchamp's famous painting: Nude Descending a Staircase) when at first glance it appears to be just a bunch of lines and shatterings.

But that doesn't mean that a representational work that shows only one view of the woman descending a staircase doesn't offer certain truths relevant to that woman.

Rendering an object by shattering it and showing all pieces simultaneously allows artists a new and magical way of looking at the subject. What we lose in the process is perspective, depth, and certain nuances that can only be captured when we take one perspective at a time. Some time in the future in my painting practice I hope I find an opportunity to render a subject in the Cubist style. But I don't think I'll be surprised to learn that by trying to show everything all at the same time, I gain wondrous things, and I lose wondrous things. And ain't that life?

#artandactivismlog

August 10, 2017


Fork, Frida, and Freedom


FridaValuing the element of Chance as championed by Dadaism became adopted by Surrealism ... where artists like Max Ernst, Salvador Dali and Andre Breton were pursuing art that emerged from the unconscious dream-state rather than the conscious state. Dali went as far as wearing a folded fork as a necklace so that when he nodded off to sleep while seated, the fork would poke him awake at the chin, allowing him to quickly capture images from his dream.

One such Dali painting ... of a landscape with melting clocks sure does seem like a dream. Nevertheless, it is a painting that works because he had the technical skills to paint that landscape and melting clocks. Skills that were acquired in a conscious reality.

Though surrealists wanted to induct Frida Kahlo into the fold as they saw her dreamy paintings as surrealist in nature, Kahlo is famous for saying to surrealist leaders that she never painted dreams but that she painted her reality ... of bottomless pain, heartache and agony.

Surrealism was in tandem to Abstract Expressionism which caught fire in the US after WWII when experimental artists from the world moved to the US to pursue freedom of expression, and rebel against the stranglehold that reverence for realism (and end product) had on the art world.

Whereas painters of realism were more about methods that would let the work speak and the artist be silent, abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock wanted to be heard, his process to be heard, and for the process to gain equal or even more important footing than the end result. 

There is this balance in my art practice that makes me relate to the idea of rebelling against strict rules and methods like surrealists and abstract expressionists. Like leave me alone already ... and don't tell me what do do or how to do it. But the other side of that for me is that if in fact in my dream state or my imagination I see melting clocks ... or a boat with a ladder to the moon or something even more unconventional, I need to have the skills to do so ... if I want others see what I see. 

So what is freedom? My ability to do what I want? My ability to learn and practice new skills? I think both are elements of it. Freedom, that is.

#artandactivismlog

 

August 08, 2017


Beauty and Function


UtilityMarcel Duchamp (1887-1968) was an American-French painter who liked mocking high art. He is famous for installing everyday objects like a snow shovel, a urinal and other things into gallery settings to ignite discourse about what is and isn't art. His thought was that if we just look at a snow shovel as an object of utility, we won't recognize its aesthetic qualities. Similarly, Christo Javacheff (1935-   ) is a Bulgarian artist who removes the utilitarian aspect of a thing ... usually by wrapping it in fabric in order for the viewer to see the aesthetics of the thing, without bias that can be related to its function.

Then there are abstract artists like Mark Rothko and Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich and Gerhard Richter who didn't wrap objects or hang urinals in galleries but presented fields of color and other abstracted expressions in an effort to move away from the "baggage" associated with representational paintings and/or realism.  Meh.

It's not that I dislike such works. Especially Rothko. I actually love his works. The thing about abstract work (especially contemporary abstract art) is that I'm dubious about whether the art reflects any real skills or any real message. You know ... like the "sewist" who makes a hot mess with fabrics in the name of "freeform" and "be free there's no mistake in art" ... when actually the person doesn't have basic sewing skills and so it's about avoiding certain stitches rather than reinventing/abstracting them ... it bothers me.

Dada-ists would argue back to me that chance is more important than skill. The point being that if art is to reflect life, not everything in a work should be planned and derived from skill. That chance/accidents happen in life ... and that therefore art ought to make room for it too. Touché.

All of these thoughts were dancing in my head while I was washing the dishes. And looking at my cutting board that is used and washed about 6 times a day in our house. Even without wrapping it like Christo or hanging it in a gallery like Duchamp ... wouldn't you agree that it is both utilitarian AND beautiful?

#artandactivismlog

 

 

 

 

Advertise with Us!
Self-Serve. Easy Peasy.


 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
Fangs and Flaws: FangGrrr Adventures by Jenny Doh  
   
Knitting Poetic with Jenny Doh  
   
Art Saves - CRESCENDOh.com  
   
Crochet Hemp  
   
 
   
 
   

Where you can leave a tip for the tips and tutorials you receive from this site. If you want to. :-)
 
   
Disclosure:

Some links on this blog are affiliate links for which I receive a small percentage of any sales generated by the link.
 
   


Subscribe to this blog's feed
 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...