This book Pictures of nothing, Abstract Art since Pollock by Kirk Varnedoe is a great insight in to minimalist and abstract artworks. The book proposes questions such as “what is abstract art good for?” questioning what its use is for individuals and for society as a whole. When a lot of minimalist and abstract looks as though its about or of nothing… often just a white canvas or cube, they do not show anything other than themselves.
This elates to my work as I’m particularly interested in how light represents the illusions of light. I’m not interested in it conveying any other message that what it is. I feel that this is important to people and society as it allows people to appreciate the simplicity of things and allows for time to slow down.
I personally enjoy the more minimalist pieces of artwork as they are not trying to allude to anything of the world they merely exist as they are. The white canvas represents a white canvas.
Frank Stella like Jasper John thought that painting should be viewed as it is as a whole, independent from what it is trying to represent. The individual hand painted brush strokes although there being 12 in the same sequence on each piece are unique. It is this repetition of the same action that give the abstract expressionist piece its charm. Same action different outcome every time. The lines are not perfect but neither are they too messy or do they fall out of the rules set by the artist.
Stella is rejecting metaphorical associations and symbolism that may suggest spirituality. This is rather different as art is seen as an expression of self and a means to express ideas and symbols that would correlate with others emotions.
The painting is what it is.
Throughout my artists practice I have become increasingly interested in the ideas put forward by David Bachelor, and the role that colour plays within western culture and society. In the west we tend to shy away from colour, dressing ourselves in black white and grey suits to go to work in our clinical white with beige offices. One may argue that this is to match the grey weather here in England, but this does not change that as a nation we have become Chromophobic. Colour is seen as gaudy, kitsch and infantile. Colour has been relegated to the lower class, where pound shops with their cheap plastic colourful goods are places for people who cannot afford to consume, can consume. Colour is not seen as establishment. Even looking around at the studios I occupy, despite the building being a place where art is created the walls are still a monochrome or a grey concrete, purged of colour. As a University it has to represent the path into the professional world, an educational establishment to be taken seriously. I feel the monochrome in the west represents this establishment. What I aim to achieve is to bring colour into the refined. In to the establishment and away from the kitsch. With other inspiration from Dan Flavin and James Turrell, I also believe in using ready-made colours and light to create instillations that allow colour to spill out of their containers. Ready-made colours are an interesting material to work with. The progression of modern technologies allows for countless colours to be manufactured in many different mediums. Not only is there and endless array of coloured paints but there are many laminates, wallpapers, plastics, perspex, ceramics and fabrics. The act of mixing artists colours traditionally in contemporary art has become less and less. Artists are not restricted by the colours available to them as the qualities of each colour that is made are far beyond qualities you can acquire through paint mixing alone. Ready-made paints have different finishes, satin gloss and matt. Others are metallic or felted also. Plastic colours have fluorescent and reflective qualities, along with metallic finishes that can give a whole different experience of colour than colour in a traditional sense. After all we are in the twenty first century it would be odd not to use twenty first century materials. As mentioned before I posses an interest in how these colours are contained. The works of Flavin and Turrell allow for colour to spill out of the rectangle of the light box and effect the surroundings. The majority of the time when colour is used even in the most abstract way like in the works of Richter and Rothko, colour is always contained within a boundary. I aim to explore the parameters colour can fill and position colour higher up on the hierarchy of western refinement.
I intend to make an instillation type artwork, with the above ideas in mind. I feel the best way to go about this is to create an interactive instillation piece using ready made colours, light and shadow. Research in to visual phenomena and the complex relationship the eye has with light and colour has allowed me to understand and explore ideas surrounding colour constancy and colours in contrast. These ideas are not as simple as one may seem. The research supporting these ideas consider established sophisticated thoughts surrounding the fields of neuroscience, philosophy, physics and art theory. The main point I have taken from this research is that the brain corrects the balance between colours in different lights and that the colour of objects are not constant. For example when walking from inside to brilliant sun out side, for a moment the eye is blinded by the intense light in contrast to the dark interior. Our eye changes and adapts to make sense of the world of colour that is around us. I feel that these ideas involving colour are worthy to be considered sophisticated and refined.
Main points I want to achieve within my work;
- An element of interaction between the piece/pieces and the viewer. Be it a direct interaction by looking through different coloured filters or changing the piece itself by changing the lighting or orientation of the piece.
- Focus on colour correction and how the eye changes and adapts to seeing colours in different lights.
- Create coloured work that is sophisticated. Aiming to draw colour away from its associations with the kitsch, infantile, feminine the foreign and the hallucinogenic.
So today I had my feedback from my second year. All in all I’m not entirely happy about it but Its what I need to give me that truly deserved kick up the arse to complete 3rd year with flying colours!!!
I’m starting with one of the things I need to mostly improve on, and that is my communication and documentation of my thoughts and ideas! So here I am no more than 2 hours after my assessment blogging my thoughts and ideas on what I need to improve upon and what I aim to do with my work in the future! However I do think a part of me just wanted this year to be over so I could start a fresh and really put all my effort into this 3rd and final year. I want to enjoy it and have fun. I was told I need to change my attitude towards work, because quite honestly I’m sloppy and lazy and I know I can do so much better than what I’m doing at the moment. This final year counts, I’ve dossed for the last 2 years and I’ve faffed around way too much to not take this next year seriously.
Lets do this!