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Archive for the ‘Negative space’ Category

16septdanstilllife

Dan Goffman never likes his work. He can see that his drawings are not realistic.

But I’m fascinated by it. Could that be because I’m a modernist.  I respond to composition.  Realism?  Not so much.

Ten years ago Dan Goffman suffered a stroke which resulted in partial paralysis and aphasia.  He’s a historian and author with a long scholarly bibliography. Drawing was suggested as therapy and now he draws every day.  I have his permission to show and talk about his work.  “If I hadn’t had the stroke, I wouldn’t have discovered that I can draw,” he says with wry humor.

20160922_144150What you see in this drawing is far from a depiction of objects on a table.  You throw away the realism check-list and instead your eye wanders through this pattern of shapes, textures and negative spaces.  Of all the things he could have focused on, he chose these shapes from the still life set up on the table. They sit on the page with an uncanny sense of rightness, balance and economy. Any concern about “realism” or more “detail” would have ruined the drawing. Do we need the three-dimensionality of the oranges and that bowl?  No.  The ellipse in the upper right corner is enough.  Notice how your eye briefly rests there and then keeps moving through the composition.

Drawing by Dan Goffman, graphite on paper, 30” x 22”

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/10/08/reading-a-shape/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/10/08/how-it-sits-on-the-page/

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

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loopholes

Picture this big, about 48” high.

If this painting were small, say about 12” high, the circles would look like bubbles and you might describe the painting as “cute” and “playful.”  A painting that’s bigger than you is never “cute.”

This painting by Cassandra Buccellato has a playful feeling, granted, but isn’t its play on a conceptual level?

The drips in the underpainting evoke chaos. Chaos is not a little mess, but a big solar system deal.  The circular windows impose order, not a rigid predictable order but some order, a wistful order as in “the best we can.”  The portholes we catch in this frame appear to be of an endless stream, drifting by.  I’m reminded of telescopes and the cans-o-worms they reveal: questions all the way down.

Mixed metaphors?  Well, yes, I’d rather contemplate this visually.

Painting by Cassandra Buccellato, oil on canvas, ~48” x 60”

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/3288/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/finding-order-in-chaos/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/order-interrupted/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/beyond-realism/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/naming-the-abstract/https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/willow-painting/

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

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16septredunder

There are twelve people in the Mondrian group and every one of these artist/students has a different approach.  We admire each other’s work, but do our own thing. This is enormously satisfying to me.

Here’s Keven Wilder’s first painting of this fall term, oil on canvas, 36” x 36.” The under-painting is red.  The red lines were scraped in while the greens were still wet.  Making a statement by a process of subtraction is exhilarating.  You don’t see this in the reproduction or at a distance.  You have to move in close and then the red lines strike like a revelation, which, in fact, they are.

I invite you to see this saying-something-by-not-saying as a key to entering abstraction.

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/treesnot/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/confetti/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/07/05/exhibit-at-ethical-humanist-society/

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

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16eminencegrise

Once again I got so interested in what everybody was doing that I forgot to take a picture of the still life set up.  But you recognize these pots from previous posts.  So do the students, having faced them innumerable times before.  Are they complaining?  No, because it’s not about the crockery.  It’s about what happens on the drawing paper.

So many choices.  What to draw, what to leave out. What to relate to what.  How to move the eye through the page.

16eminencegrisenumbersNotice that the grouping at (1) relates in value to (4) and therefore your eye moves diagonally across the page.

The lines of the drapery converge at (3).  But right at that point of convergence the charcoal has been lifted to keep that spot from dominating the page.

And what about that huge pot, (2)?  No shading, no detail, no reflection, no roundness. We don’t need any of that.  We know exactly what it is. Une éminence grise, ha. It becomes important precisely because it doesn’t shout.

I love a witty still life.

Drawing by Maggy Shell, charcoal, ~14”x18”

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

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14June

Wherever you are right now, if you look up and around you, you’ll find a still life worth drawing.  Oh, no, you say? It’s all ordinary, everyday stuff. A coffee cup, a coiled wire, a pair of glasses, a crinkled Kleenex…

14JuneAnalysisThat’s the point!  Look again.  Look at the space between these things, how their edges meet, how shapes repeat, the pattern of light and dark.  Looking like this can get you out of the verbal mode so that you arrive at a state of mind where you’re not naming anything.  You go visual, in other words.  Ah, then you start drawing.

The objects we draw in class are equally banal: an old bowl and some cloth remnant on a beat up studio table. Not heroic, nothing much.

Drawing by Linné Dosé, graphite, ~14” x 18”

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/09/02/trip-into-drapery/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/the-square/

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

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15JanPots

This is how the drawing sat on the page.

You can see that the artist/student, Linné Dosé, has developed a love of composition and form.   The drawing suggests a still life, you know, the usual pottery. But notice, we don’t get details here, no loyalty to the objects, no shadow and reflected-light games.

A work of art tells you how it wants to be looked at. This drawing directs your mind away from literalness.  It says, forget the pots.

Shape, Form, Space!

As it sits on the drawing paper it extends horizontally and that suggests a setting, a certain degree of literalness.

Now look what happens when we crop it to a square.

15JanPotsCropRad

The forms are so much more pure forms.

The square format will do that.  Uncanny.  It speaks to our modern sensibility.

Why would that be?

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

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16MayLast2final

In an earlier painting, Untitled X, we saw the use of lines at the very edge of the painting, giving us a hint of framing.  Here, in Untitled XII, the frame idea comes through as if it were the key to interpreting this painting.

We’ve just looked at twelve works by this artist. I posted them in succession and with such haste in an attempt to simulate a gallery experience. When you see a solo show in a gallery you go from one piece to the next, you look close,  you stand way back, you circle around, and you go back to something you saw earlier. You try to get a feeling for how this artist’s mind and imagination work.

Notice that in Untitled XII the “frame” is not complete.  Not only is it conspicuously broken, but it waves in and out of the other elements.  Whereas in previous paintings, the crisp lines were placed on a field of undulating, bulging colors and we could talk about “background,” here background and foreground are interacting.  The “frame” is not separate from or placed on top of anything.  It is simply another element in the painting.

Think of a painting as a conversation. You, the viewer, are half of the conversation.  How you frame the conversation determines what you hear/see.

Magritte comes to mind.  His paintings, as all humor, rely on framing or Magritte-Time-Transfixed_360context.  Here the frame or context is a neat, bourgeois living room, which sets up certain expectations and assumptions. A model locomotive mounted into a fire place would be jarring enough, but a locomotive moving outward from a fireplace—notice the smoke—is beyond all your assumptions about what’s possible.  You can only take comfort from the realization that you are looking at a constructed image and not a real locomotive in a real fire place.  Small comfort! You immediately realize that you love looking at this and that this was Magritte’s intention. You’re trapped, looking at something that you don’t understand.  Sounds like the beginning of doubt and Cartesian introspection. Congratulations, you’re modern.

A Magritte painting has one joke in it.  Once you get it, it pretty much comes to rest.

In Boyer’s Untitled XII you may see a bird or a face, but only fleetingly.  The wit in a Boyer painting keeps ricocheting in your brain.

Painting by Bruce Hatton Boyer, oil on canvas, 40” x 30”

http://www.artic.edu/exhibition/magritte-mystery-ordinary-1926-1938

Rene Magritte, 1898-1967

Bruce Hatton Boyer is the author of:

The Solstice Cypher, 1979

The Natural History of the Field Museum: Exploring the Earth and its People, 1993

The Miniature Rooms: the Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago, 2004

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/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/untitled-v-blue-rectangle/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/untitled-vi-back-and-forth/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/30/untitled-vii/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/30/untitled-viii/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/30/untitled-ix/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/30/untitled-x/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/untitled-xi/

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

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

www.katherinehilden.com

www.khilden.com

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