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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Klee’

Just a Little Klee

I paint in order not to cry.

–Paul Klee

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I am getting stuff around to speak with a few classes of second graders this morning at a local school this morning. I had a wonderful experience speaking with third graders earlier in the year so I am looking forward to speaking with these kids. There is something energizing in the way they express themselves, appearing as it does without a whit of pretense. When they show interest or a sense of wonder, you know that it is the real thing.

And after a lifetime of dealing with adults where most interactions contain a lot of guarded words and expressions, it’s refreshing to deal with a group of kids who respond instantly and honestly.

I think at that age they have a desire to be heard. And that is something I understand and can relate to. I was somewhere around their age when I first had thoughts of being an artist and it came from my own desire to be heard and taken seriously.

We’ll probably talk about that. Should be fun.

At the top is a piece from one of my favorite artist, Paul Klee (1879-1940) along with a quote that I also understand from personal experience.

I don’t know that we’ll be talking about that this morning.

Have a good day.

 

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Victor Brauner- "Signe" 1942- Mounted on his tomb in Montmartre

Victor Brauner- “Signe” 1942- Mounted on his tomb in Montmartre

Painting is life, the real life, my life.

Victor Brauner, epitaph on his grave in Paris

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The sculpted piece above is part, along with the quote above,  of the Montmartre tomb of Victor Brauner, a Romanian Jewish painter/sculptor who lived from 1903 to 1966, spending most of his life in France.  It depicts the heads he often portrayed in his Surrealistic paintings.

I can’t quite remember how I first came across the work of  Brauner.  I think it might have been in an article that had anti-Nazi art from the 1930’s.  He had painted a couple of paintings in 1934 and 1935 during Hitler’s rise, one depicting a fantasy portrait of Hitler with his head being pierced with all sorts of implements.  A knife in the eye , for example.  The other depicted a German military figure standing atop a swastika that is crushing the bodies under it. Both are powerful propaganda images and are shown below.

But I stumbled across his other work apart from these images and they caught my attention on their own.  They are surreal images that often have a Paul Klee-like mysticism in them that I am drawn to.  Maybe I also identify with something Brauner once wrote in his notebooks: Each painting that I make is projected from the deepest sources of my anxiety…

Whatever the case, I find them interesting, something more to delve into.  Take a look.

Victor Brauner- The Surrealist 1947

Victor Brauner- The Surrealist 1947

Victor Brauner- Hitler 1934

Victor Brauner- Hitler 1934

Victor Brauner- Untitled 1935

Victor Brauner- Untitled 1935

Victor Brauner- La Petrification de la Papesse

Victor Brauner- La Petrification de la Papesse

Victor Brauner- Prelude to a Civilization 1954

Victor Brauner- Prelude to a Civilization 1954

Victor Brauner- Consciousness of Shock 1951

Victor Brauner- Consciousness of Shock 1951

Victor Brauner- Antithesis 1937

Victor Brauner- Antithesis 1937

Victor Brauner- The Triumph of Doubt 1946

Victor Brauner- The Triumph of Doubt 1946

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Ad Marginem C 1930 Painting by Paul Klee; Ad Marginem C 1930 Art Print for salePaul Klee On Modern Art 1924This excerpt from On Modern Art, the 1924 treatise from the great Swiss artist Paul Klee is a bit more than a quote but since this is about art we’ll be a little flexible in our definition.  And that, I believe, would please Klee, whose works often defied definition.

I know for me, he was a big influence if only in his attitude and the distinctness of his work.  I always think of his work in terms of the color– sometimes muted yet intense and always having a melodic harmony to it.

It always feels like music to me.

I like his idea that the world is in the process of creation, of Genesis, and that it is not a final form. It allows for visionary work, for imagining other present worlds that extend beyond our perception because, as he writes, “In its present shape it is not the only possible world.

And to me, that is an exciting proposition.

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klee_southern-gardens

Paul Klee- Southern Gardens

I am feeling under the weather today but really wanted to post something, out of some sort of obligation to my own discipline.  I pulled out a post from back in 2010 that features some writing from the great Swiss artist Paul Klee, whose work I have always admired.  It was nice that his words also brought admiration.

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I was asked yesterday if I talked to my paintings.

Interesting question.

I talk to animals. I talk to trees and plants. I talk to my car. I talk to my studio, which actually has a name. I talk to ghosts, present or not. Whether any of these things or beings listens is another matter.

But talk to my paintings?

It immediately brought to mind a section of a famous lecture that I had been reading recently and had really resonated with me. It was On Modern Art, delivered in the 1920′s by Swiss artist and a personal favorite of mine Paul Klee :

May I use a simile, the simile of the tree? The artist has studied this world of variety and has, we may suppose, unobtrusively found his way in it. His sense of direction has brought order into the passing stream of image and experience. This sense of direction in nature and life, this branching and spreading array, I shall compare with the root of the tree.

……..From the root the sap flows to the artist, flows through him, flows to his eye. Thus he stands as the trunk of the tree. Battered and stirred by the strength of the flow, he guides the vision on into his work. As, in full view of the world, the crown of the tree unfolds and spreads in time and space, so with his work.
……..Nobody would affirm that the tree grows its crown in the image of its root. Between above and below can be no mirrored reflection. It is obvious that different functions expanding in different elements must produce divergences. But it is just the artist who at times is denied those departures from nature which his art demands. He has even been charged with incompetence and deliberate distortion.
……..And yet, standing at his appointed place, the trunk of the tree, he does nothing other than gather and pass on what comes to him from the depths. He neither serves nor rules–he transmits. His position is humble. And the beauty at the crown is not his own. He is merely a channel.

This very much sums up how I’ve always felt about art, especially my place as an artist. A mere channel or transmitter. And when I look at my paintings, it is not in the form of a conversation so much as listening to what the painting has to tell me. I paint because I question and, at best, the paintings provide some answers and insight that I might not find or see otherwise.

So, do I talk to my paintings? Not so much. But do they talk to me? Yes. And I do my best to listen…

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Southern Gardens- Paul Klee

I was asked yesterday if I talked to my paintings.

  Interesting question.

I talk to animals.  I talk to trees and plants.  I talk to my car. I talk to my studio, which actually has a name. I talk to ghosts, present or not.   Whether any of these things or beings listens is another matter.

But talk to my paintings?

It immediately brought to mind a section of a famous lecture that I had been reading recently and had really resonated with me.  It was On Modern Art,  delivered in the 1920’s by Swiss artist and a personal favorite of mine Paul Klee :

May I use a simile, the simile of the tree? The artist has studied this world of variety and has, we may suppose, unobtrusively found his way in it. His sense of direction has brought order into the passing stream of image and experience. This sense of direction in nature and life, this branching and spreading array, I shall compare with the root of the tree.

……..From the root the sap flows to the artist, flows through him, flows to his eye. Thus he stands as the trunk of the tree. Battered and stirred by the strength of the flow, he guides the vision on into his work. As, in full view of the world, the crown of the tree unfolds and spreads in time and space, so with his work.
……..
Nobody would affirm that the tree grows its crown in the image of its root. Between above and below can be no mirrored reflection. It is obvious that different functions expanding in different elements must produce divergences. But it is just the artist who at times is denied those departures from nature which his art demands. He has even been charged with incompetence and deliberate distortion.
……..
And yet, standing at his appointed place, the trunk of the tree, he does nothing other than gather and pass on what comes to him from the depths. He neither serves nor rules–he transmits. His position is humble. And the beauty at the crown is not his own. He is merely a channel.

This very much sums up how I’ve always felt about art, especially my place as an artist.  A mere channel or transmitter.  And when I look at my paintings, it is not in the form of a conversation so much as listening  to what the painting has to tell me.  I paint because I question and, at best, the paintings provide some answers and insight that I might not find or see otherwise.

So, do I talk to my paintings?  Not so much.  But do they talk to me?  Yes.  And I do my best to listen…

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Paul Klee

Klee-Carnival in the MountainsI’ve been a fan of the work of Paul Klee for some time now.  Whenever I would stumble across his work in museums, I would immediately feel a sense of kinship with his work.  His work is always the obvious product of his mind and seems unfettered by what might be expected by outside forces.

Klee Red BalloonMuch of his work is on paper and is smallish in size compared to many of the pieces that often surround them in museums, giving the work a very intimate, warm feel.  I feel like I’m privy to some quiet secret when I see his work. Maybe it has to do with the way his paintings combine music and form, creating that elusive rhythm of which I often write.   I also  love the grit within his colors and how he sometimes segments his work into small boxes of color, a technique that I adopt at different times in my painting.

Many categorize his work as whimsical but I have to somewhat disagree.  Granted there is sometimes an appearance of lightness in his work, but I see his work as very serious but with a distant and different perspective than the norm.  If you get a chance, take a look at the work of Paul Klee.  You’ll be glad you found him…klee-senecio

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