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Posts Tagged ‘Wassily Kandinsky’

GC Myers- Nocte Bleu sm

Nocte Bleu” – At the West End Gallery

Almost without exception, blue refers to the domain of abstraction and immateriality.

–Wassily Kandinsky



Though the Red Tree and the color red play a large part in my body of work, I am a confessed addict of the color blue. I have written in the past about instances of painting with blue where I almost feel an intoxication after hours of having my face inches from it for several hours at a time. I often have to consciously refrain from using the color at times for fear I will fall into an uncontrollable spiral where all my work is nothing but blue.

That might not be so bad, now that I think about it.

But I do let my addiction off the leash periodically, especially for my shows where there is generally at least a handful of what I would call blue pieces. The piece shown here, Nocte Bleu, is an example. It’s a new 10″ by 20″ painting on aluminum panel that is included in Through the Trees, my annual solo show at the West End Gallery that opens this coming Friday.

I almost felt guilty painting this piece, it gave me such pleasure. And it continued even after the process was done. It was one of those pieces that kept me peeking at it while it was in the studio. Just something in it that satisfied a need within me.

I understand that this doesn’t describe the painting or process or help you understand it in any way. But that’s the way it is with us addicts. Sometimes you just got to have the good stuff, the real blue.

For this Sunday morning music I am going to a favorite piece, a sort of obscure song from jazz horn player Richard Boulger and his 2008 LP Blues Twilight. Blues– see? He knows. The song is Miss Sarah, one that I have played here awhile back. I think it’s a great song to kick off a Sunday morning. Try it on for size.



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Kandinsky I Am Here



The above quote is from Wassily Kandinsky and concisely captures what might be the primary motive for my work. I think, for me, it was a matter of finding that thing, that outlet that gave me voice, that allowed me to honestly feel as though I had a place in this world. That I had worth. That I had thoughts deserving to be heard. That I was, indeed, here. 

That need to validate my existence is still the primary driver behind my work. It is that search for adequacy that gives my work its expression and differentiates it from others. I’ve never said this before but I think that is what many people who respond to my work see in the paintings- their own need to be heard. They see themselves as part of the work and they are saying, “I am here.” 

Hmmm…

Redtree Times , December, 2008



I am in the final days of prep for my upcoming West End Gallery show and, as is the case with many previous shows at this point, the whole process of what I do becomes an abstract thing. Standing in the midst of the group of new paintings in various stages of readiness scattered around my studio, they sometimes feel almost unintelligibly foreign to me at this point. I look at them and though I know they are part and parcel of who I am, they suddenly seem not mine anymore and I find myself wondering how I got to this point.

What does it mean and why do I do this thing that seems so alien to me now?

And there is never a response that fully answers my questions. But I always come back to some words I strung together years ago in 2008, back in the early days of this blog. Shown above, they are my reaction to a quote from Wassily Kandinsky, an artist whose musings on the spiritual elements of art often strike a chord within me.

It always comes down to a need to have one’s voice heard, to have one’s existence validated in some way. That’s a universal desire. We all want to be heard, to not be overlooked or brushed aside.

My work is my means to that end, the I am here. It’s the only way I know how to find it. But while it helps me exist in this world, I want it to do a bit more. My hope is that it serves as a reminder, a symbol, for those who see it that their own voice, their own existence, is equally distinct and valued.

This thought brings the work back into focus, back from feeling alien to me. Some semblance of meaning and purpose is regained. It’s like a weight has been lifted and I can move forward, to do what I need to do to once more express the I am here I have been seeking.



My annual solo show, Through the Trees, opens Friday, July16, at the West End Gallery in Corning, NY.

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Kandinsky Sketch for Composition II

Wassily Kandinsky- Sketch for Composition II- 1923



Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.

-Wassily Kandinsky



I came across a short film that I would like to share. It’s What Does Colour Sound Like? and was made by modern composer Barnaby Martin. This ten minute film discusses painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) as he tried to reconcile the connections between color, music, and emotion in his work throughout his career.

Kandinsky’s work and his writings have always struck chords with me. I know it influenced how I look at works of art, including my own. I often feel and describe paintings in terms of music and, like Kandinsky, view the colors and shapes within a painting as musical elements which are more vital to the work than the actual representation of any one object.

At this point in my preparation for a show, when there is an abundance of new work surrounding me in the studio, the importance of color and form as carriers of emotion becomes clear. Maybe that’s why this film and Kandinsky’s words speak so directly to me this morning.

If you have ten minutes to spare, I urge you to take a look. And a listen.



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kandinsky

 



Lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and… stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to ‘walk about’ into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?

Wassily Kandinsky



Still working on getting my creative engines revved up and ready to go. Normal for me at this point n the year. One thing that usually helps me in these times is turning to the words and works of Wassily Kandinsky.

Several years ago in a short post here, I shared the quote above and a great little film from Alfred Imageworks that features an animation of the elements from some of Kandinsky’s great paintings as well a film from 1926 of Kandinsky creating a drawing with these same elements.

These always seem to help me in some way that I can’t quantify. Maybe I should take Kandinsky’s advice and stop thinking on this.

Anyway, thought they’d be worth revisiting today before I get down to real work.

Take a look if you are so inclined and then have yourself a good day, again, if you are so inclined.

STEREOSCOPIC FOR EXHIBITION – KANDINSKY from Alfred Imageworks on Vimeo.



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Wassily Kandinsky- Couple Riding 1906

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The true work of art is born from the Artist: a mysterious, enigmatic, and mystical creation. It detaches itself from him, it acquires an autonomous life, becomes a personality, an independent subject, animated with a spiritual breath, the living subject of a real existence of being.

–Wassily Kandinsky

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Leave it to the great Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) to so well describe that sense of life I am looking for in my work and about which I have often written here. When it is real, it takes on a life of its own. It still possesses the personality and psyche of the artist but grows, adding layers and dimensions that take it well beyond the reality of the artist.

These two sentences from Kandinsky hit the mark squarely — animated with a spiritual breath, the living subject of a real existence of being–and are just perfect for how I see this process.

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The above quote is from Wassily Kandinsky and concisely captures what might be the primary motive for my work. I think, for me, it was a matter of finding that thing, that outlet that gave me voice, that allowed me to honestly feel as though I had a place in this world. That I had worth. That I had thoughts deserving to be heard. That I was, indeed, here. 

That need to validate my existence is still the primary driver behind my work. It is that search for adequacy that gives my work its expression and differentiates it from others. I’ve never said this before but I think that is what many people who respond to my work see in the paintings- their own need to be heard. They see themselves as part of the work and they are saying, “I am here.” 

Hmmm…

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This was one of the early posts from this blog from back in 2008. It remains true to this day, nearly ten years later, as the idea of “I am here” still drives my work.

Maybe this will be one of the things we touch on this coming Saturday, August 4, at my Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery, starting at 1 PM.

Maybe. Or maybe we’ll just have a sing-along. Who knows? It’s a fluid thing.

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“… lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and … stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to “walk about” into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?”

― Wassily Kandinsky

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A busy day but with enough time to consider this early Kandinsky painting and his words. Having learned to stop thinking some time ago, I do feel enabled to walk about in his created world. And, yes, I want and need no more this morning.

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kandinskyLend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and… stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to ‘walk about’ into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?

Wassily Kandinsky

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Just wanted to share a great little film from Alfred Imageworks that features an animation of the elements from some of Kandinsky’s great paintings. Below that is a film from 1926 of Kandinsky creating a drawing with these same elements.

STEREOSCOPIC FOR EXHIBITION – KANDINSKY from Alfred Imageworks on Vimeo.

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Hilma af Klint - Painting the UnseenJust a few days ago, a new exhibit opened at the Serpentine Galleries in London.  It features a group of abstract and symbolic paintings from a Swedish painter by the name of Hilma af Klint who lived from 1862 until 1944.  The images of her work on display are quite captivating and intrigued me enough to look further into her work.  It’s an interesting case.

She was trained in the 1880’s in Sweden as a traditional artist and for most of her life supported herself with naturalistic landscapes and portraits.  This work is well done and attractive but unremarkable.  She considered this conventional work as a means of supporting her “life’s work” which were the many spiritually inspired abstract pieces produced from the 1890’s up to the time of her death in 1944.

Hilma af Klint YouthInterested in spirituality and theosophy, Hilma formed a group of women who met on a regular basis to hold seances to attempt to contact and channel the spirits from other dimensions.  She claimed to have been “commissioned” by one of these spirits to create a series of large paintings which occupied her for a number of years.  These paintings consisted of geometric and organic forms and a distinct visual vocabulary expressing a deeply spiritual element.

At the time of her death, there was a huge group of work, over 1200 paintings of varying.  Some are epic in their size, measuring over 10′ in height.  However, none were ever displayed publicly in her lifetime and she stipulated that it not be allowed to be exhibited until twenty years after her death. for fear that it would not be understood in that present time.  Little did she know that it would actually be more than forty years before it came to light in an exhibit in 1986.  In recent years there have been two major exhibits of her work, including this current show at the Serpentine Galleries, which have really pushed her work into the spotlight.

Her recent discovery and the depth of her work has created a quandary fo art historians who struggle to place her in the timeline of art history.   Her work was formed independently of and, in most cases, before the abstract movement pioneered by Kandinsky, Malevich and Mondrian.  They don’t know how to categorize her: Is she a pioneer or simply an outsider?

I don’t think this categorization matters.  Just take a look at some of these works on display and most likely you won’t care either.  The work definitely is in the present and alive. And that is all that matters.

Hilma af Klint - A Pioneer of Abstraction3 Hilma af Klint - A Pioneer of Abstraction 2 Hilma af Klint - Painting the Unseen2 Hilma af Klint - A Pioneer of Abstraction

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GC Myers- Blue Awakening  smThe deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and, finally, for the supernatural… The brighter it becomes, the more it loses its sound, until it turns into silent stillness and becomes white.

–Wassily Kandinsky

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Certain colors always raise a strong visceral response from me.  I think my use of reds and yellows is evidence of this as is my affinity for the color blue, which I’ve discussed here.  Maybe Kandinsky hits the mark with his words: it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and, finally, for the supernatural.  

I know for myself those are feelings that often are driven forward when I work with the color blue.  There is often a contemplative feeling, one that wonders at the unknown, that infinite, that we seek, that comes with the color.  I see it in the painting at the top.

Called Blue Awakening, this 18″ by 24″ painting on panel has a simplified and almost naive appearance at first glance.  But the blue of the sky set against the pale whiteness of the moon changes the piece from a folksy vignette to one of meditative wonderment.  The Red Tree here takes on a glow that speaks of a new understanding or acceptance of its place and purpose in the universe.  It represents a true awakening of the spirit for me.

The interesting thing for me is that there is not a tremendous amount of blue in the painting.  There are a few tones throughout the lower landscaped  half of the painting and much of the sky are tones that move away from blue.  But the blue that is there commands the space, creating the overall feeling of the piece.  Such is the power of blue.

This painting is, of course, part of my solo show, Home+Land, which is now hanging at the West End Gallery and opens with a reception tomorrow evening from 5-7:30.  The show runs from July 17 until September 4, 2015 and there is a Gallery Talk  on Saturday, August 1.  More info on that in the next couple of weeks.

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