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Posts Tagged ‘Wassily Kandinsky’

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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.

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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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Wassily Kandinsky- Composition VIII  1923In the final analysis, every serious work is tranquil….Every serious work resembles in poise the quiet phrase, ” I am here.” Like or dislike for the work evaporates; but the sound of that phrase is eternal.

Wassily Kandinsky

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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 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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I wrote the above a little over five years ago in one of the early posts on this blog.  I came across it and was going to re run it alone because I still feels it sums up a lot of what I feel about  my work but I also wanted to expand just a bit more on Wassily Kandinsky, who ended up not really getting much notice in this outside of his quote.

Kandinsky, who was born in Moscow in  1866  and died in Paris in 1944, was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century,  leading the  way into abstraction in painting.  I have sometimes been ambivalent about his work- some I have found entrancing but others have done nothing for me.  But seeing it chronologically, from his earliest efforts until the years just before his death, has made me see him in a different light.  Seeing his evolution from a painter strongly influenced by his mentors  and contemporaries to an artist with a distinct voice of his own is remarkable to witness.  This was a man who was always seeking more than he was seeing, an artist who didn’t rest at a plateau.  Seeing this evolution gave me a new respect for the work of Kandinsky

To see this clearly and for yourself, I suggest you go to WassilyKandinsky.net.  His career is divided into four sections and  each has a chronological gallery of work that you can scroll down.  It’s worth a look.

Wassily Kandinsky- Couple Riding   1906 Wassily Kandinsky-  Murnau. A Village Street  1908 Wassily Kandinsky  -Softened Construction 1927     1925Wassily Kandinsky- In Blue  1925  1923Wassily Kandinsky  - Decisive Pink  1932

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