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Archive for August, 2016

16Jan14Lips

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/25/black-dot-anthropocentrism/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/untitled-ii-stretch/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/untitled-iii-rack/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/untitled-iv-asperatus-clouds/

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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16April28HourGlass

Or would you title this painting  “The Hour Glass?”  More likely than Asperatus Clouds.  But look how little space the hour glass takes up on the whole canvas!  About 2%.  Still, because it’s a recognizable shape, it dominates your mind as you look at this turbulent composition.

E.H.Gombrich talks about that in “The Story of Art,” 1950

https://weather.com/science/weather-explainers/news/undulatus-asperatus-clouds-kentucky-ohio-august-3

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/25/black-dot-anthropocentrism/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/untitled-ii-stretch/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/untitled-iii-rack/

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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3Untitled16March12 (1)

You can see the three dots as a progression, (1), (2) and (3).  But once you see 3Untitled16March12 (2)that white dot in the red field as being a head in a strung up body, that view will dominate in your perception.  We’ve faced this dominance before, in “Black Dot Anthropocentrism.”

The artist, Bruce Hatton Boyer, may not have seen this anthropomorphism when he placed the three dots.  The red field was almost certainly not painted as suggesting a humanoid.  But these associations happen in the painting process.  And then what!?

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/emergence-of-a-man/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/25/black-dot-anthropocentrism/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/untitled-ii-stretch/

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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2Untitled16April28Sunspots

The previous post’s painting might have been titled “Untitled I.”  I think all abstract paintings are best left untitled, but we have to catalog them and for that purpose they need an ID.  Notice how lame the title “Stretch” is for this painting. Why not “Two Kites” or “Yellow and Blue” or “Two White Lines and Three Black Lines” or “Some Orange Fireworks?”  All equally lame.  Attempts at metaphysics would lead to titles like “Inner Conflict” or “Revelations” or “Finding My Way.”  Even worse!

The reason titles that try to be descriptive are so bad is that the painting is not descriptive of anything.  The painter is not trying to describe or illustrate anything.

In naming my own paintings I have taken an absurd route, determined to avoid descriptive lameness.

http://katherinehilden.com.  In a section called Notes, I explain how I arrived at those forgettable titles:

http://katherinehilden.com/notes.html.   The result is that I cannot remember the titles of my own paintings, which is what I want.  I have to remember them visually.

This is the second of twelve consecutive posts featuring the work of Bruce Boyer.  I want everyone to be able to scroll down and see this work as uninterrupted by verbiage as possible.  I’ll comment occasionally, but sometimes not at all.  Let this simulate a gallery experience.

All paintings are 30”x40” and were produced earlier this year, from January to May, but will not be posted in the order of their production.

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/25/black-dot-anthropocentrism/

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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www.katherinehilden.com

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MunchAnalysis1This is the first stage of a painting.  Notice that it repeats the same V-shape over and over.

In the next stage, a black shape was added (1). For now, ignore  (2) and (3), which were put in  at the very end of the work process.

Munch copy

Notice that (1) repeats that V-shape.  When I saw the painting at this stage,  I said to the artist, “looks a little like a tree.”  A strange little tree, to be sure, with its sinuous trunk and just two short branches, but still, the shape says “treeness.”  Maybe a tree with its branches “reaching” up.  The word “reach” suggests a personification of the tree.

Personification is very tempting. The artist dipped his brush into the black paint again and deftly placed a dot between the “branches.”

MunchFinal

That small dot radically changed the game.  Try seeing that black shape as a tree now.  Impossible.  Try seeing it as something other than a woman with her arms raised.  Try harder.  Can’t be done.

Not only are you seeing a woman with her arms raised, but this shape and association now dominate the painting to such a degree that you feel compelled to interpret everything else in the painting in relation to it.  The tree dominated over all the other shapes and the puzzle at that stage  was how to fit it into the rest of the painting. But thanks to this little dot the black shape’s humanoid association will not allow your mind to wander away.  It’s absolute and absolutely uncanny.

This is what we do in art.  We look at how our mind and imagination work.

After this jaw-dropping black dot appeared, the artist tried to subvert the tyranny of that black humanoid shape by painting in a large yellow disk and a little white rectangle.  What does that do?  Well, now we have to acknowledge these also and fit them into some interpretation.  (1), (2) and (3) are now competing for our attention.   The humanoid can now more easily be seen as a shape among other shapes.  It’s a relief, isn’t it.  But the humanoid still dominates.  No way around it.  Were wired to zoom in on hints of our human shape, however sketchy, distorted or bizarre.

Painting by Bruce Boyer. Oil on Canvas, 30”x40”

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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BowlStemware

In a still life drapery suggests all sorts of turbulence—if you’re in the mood to see it.  There’s nothing still about a still life even though you’re looking at a pile of pottery, stemware, plastic fruit and, of course, bulging cloth.  We’ve talked about that before:

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2012/12/25/still-life-a-misnomer/

In this post’s drawing, the artist/student selected a portion of the still life on the table that led to an exploding composition on the page.  In my analysis you can interpret the green lines as either emanating from a central point (explosive) or you can see them as converging implosively.  You can shift your view back and forth between the two ways of seeing.  Either way, it’s a trip!

BowlStemwareLines

Whether you see those lines as centripetal or centrifugal, the focal point is nothing.  It’s a little triangular black part of the background, a vacancy.  If the lines had been made to converge on a  thing, the drawing would feel like an illustration or a picture with a message.  It would belong to the 18th century or before, at least in Western Art.  But the fact that the convergence is on emptiness makes this a modern drawing. The lines converge on that little nothing, but because it’s nothing, it lets you go again.  And so your eye–your attention–moves all through the image.  That’s the modern sensibility: you have to pay attention to everything. It’s a real trip, man.

For a reference to Diebenkorn and the Parthenon, go back to https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/let-it-be/

Drawing in china marker on gloss paper, ~ 11 x 17,  by Lizzy Mendoza.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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SquareCherryblossoms

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better…

See if you can apply our last discussion (https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/19/the-drama-of-concave-and-convex/) to this painting.

This painting is different in three important ways: The square format pushes you into thinking abstractly. There’s no hint of a horizon line. The color contrasts are more subtle.

If the pink squares were pink dots, the effect would be frivolous, even more so than the idea of red dots  in the last painting. They have to be square!  Btw, the squares were made with linoleum, in a printmaking technique.

Many painters think pink is a problem.  That depends upon how it’s used and next to what.  And in what shape!  Pink squares drifting here across orange and turquoise tickle your retina into bliss.

See an earlier vindication of pink: https://artamaze.wordpress.com/?s=pink

Painting by Jane Donaldson, 2015

Once again, the flip creates a different dynamic. In this case, a sense of balance and stasis.

SquareCherryblossomsFlip

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

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