Posts Tagged ‘Hundertwasser’

The straight line is godless and immoral. The straight line is not a creative line, it is a duplicating line, an imitating line.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser
I was originally drawn to the work of painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000) by his use of color and the organic feel of his forms. Every line has a natural curl and arc and even those lines meant to replicate the straightness of a man-made object quiver and waver a bit. It all creates a world that feels natural and alive. Organic is the word that always jumps to mind although maybe spiritual is a better fit in that it seems to depict a world that is comprised not of the human body but of its soul and spirit.
I maintain a similar relationship with straight lines, viewing them as something to be avoided at all cost. The man-made feeling that comes with a straight line is something that I do not want to see in my work with the possible exception of the horizon line as seen on a body of water. Consciously painting that straight line is a real task, an ordeal of concentration.
As hard as it is to draw a straight line, it’s harder than you might think to not draw a straight line, especially after you have spent years drawing and painting, gaining a certain proficiency with pen and brush. I sometimes have to really focus on not painting a straight line or the stroke will unconsciously go straight and true. When that happens, it irks me to no end and I find my eye constantly going back to that straight line in the composition.
I think there is something in our brain that makes our eye seek out straight lines as though we are always searching for signs of humans, perhaps as some sort of survival mechanism. And a very straight line is almost always a man-made thing.
So, I am going to practice not painting some straight lines this morning with Hundertwasser’s words echoing in my ears. And eyes.

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hundertwasser_land-of-men-birds-shipsThe painting above is titled Paradise-The Land of Men, Birds and Ships.  It’s actually a mural that was painted on a building outside of Paris in 1950 by artists Friedensreich Hundertwasser and  René Brõ.  It was saved from demolition in 1964 although I have no idea where or in what condition it now stands.  I’ve featured Hundertwasser’s work, with it’s rich colors and organic shapes, here on the blog a few times in the past.  I like his work,  I like this and thought it fit well with the song I’ve chosen for today’s Sunday Morning Music.

That song is Ships and Birds from one of my favorite albums, Wilco and Billy Bragg‘s 1998 Mermaid Avenue.  It’s a collection of old unheard Woody Guthrie lyrics set to new music composed by Wilco and others.  This track features Natalie Merchant singing the lead and is just a lovely, simple  song.  A nice way to kick off any Sunday morning.

Have a great Sunday…

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The Work of Hundertwasser

I’ve been doing this blog for just over two years now.  I write something every day although to be honest, there are a lot of days when content is less than I would hope.  But I try to do something everyday just to maintain the discipline.  The site recently went over a million hits and gave me cause for a little investigation of where some of those hits came from over the past two years.

By a wide margin, a post on the work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser from August of 2009 has been the most popular post.  It still receives about 100 hits a day and over 21000 hits overall, a testimony to the great attraction of the late painter’s work.

Urwald Mit Tigern- Henri Rousseau

Several posts on other artists also continue to pull in substantial numbers of hits.  One on Henri Rousseau has consistently attracted a large number of views as has one on the wave paintings of Hokusai.  Another on the densely textured paintings of Ivan Albright is another consistent favorite among visitors.

One of the posts that also draws a large number of views on a consistent but sporadic basis is one that I did on the ridiculous uproar over Barack Obama’s birth certificate.  It will mosey along pulling in a few hits here and there for months then suddenly get 70 or 80 hits a day for a week or so, shadowing the activityof the birther movement at the moment.  This amazes me.  I still occasionally get comments  from some loonies who want to argue the point, almost 18 months after its initial appearance on the blog.  I moderate most of them out now, not wanting to continue this absurd argument and refusing to give it credence by engaging in heated debate.  I guess it’s just another example that shows how intensely these people refuse to believe that Obama is our president.

It’s always interesting to examine what triggers response in readers and viewers.  Whether it’s just a matter of curiosity or whether I will use the info in some way in the future is debatable.  I’m just glad folks continue to stop in.


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hundertwasser-friedensreich-strassenkreuzung-2000-2631956I ran into the work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser , a contemporary (1928-2000) Austrian artist,  several years ago at a gallery in Boston and was immediately drawn to his work.

It was probably not a surprise as his work focused primarily on color and organic forms with few straight lines and had a strong individualized vocabulary.  His work was his work and that spoke to me.  Creating something that was my own individual expression was always my highest priority.

I was also interested into his forays into architecture and urban environmentalism, both of which are often reflected in his work.  But it was primarily his colors and forms that drew me in.  Whenever I come across his work I have to stop and look for a few moments, taking in the whole image at first , letting it register as a single form. Then moving in closer to look at individual elements, seeing how each shape and color plays off the next.  It’s the way I hope people look at my own work.

hundertwasser_shop_fridge_magnet_setThe piece shown here is not one piece but a group of refrigerator magnets massed together but would make an interesting piece.  I was also attracted to his use of black in his edges and underneath his work, something that I have somewhat adapted for my own work.

There is a total commitment to vision in his work that I admire.  And while I don’t feel raw emotion in the work I do find it compelling.

And that is saying something…hundertwasser_fax

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