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De Kooning, Pollock and Barnett Newman

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Chantelle Eloise Allen

on 23 January 2014

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Transcript of De Kooning, Pollock and Barnett Newman

Willem de Kooning
dozen of different paintings superimposed on one another
colliding colors, brushwork and forms
pallette knife scrapings
here and there a figure is in focus
unfinished - perpetual state of redefinition
extreme spatial oppositions - breasts read as flat but fully rounded forms, energetic brushwork creates a background for the figure but at the same time absorbs it.
various active planes
menacing and sensuous
attack on closed systems , finality and any fixed way of looking at things.
"slipping glimpses"
open - ended working process - Action Painter
Barnett Newman
thought everything through in advance
metaphysical ideas and highly articulate
fought against any kind of artistic subject matter that was tied down to an object
notion of the sublime - direct intuition of universal experience; it consists of pure spirituality
inspired by Caspar Davids' "Monk by Seaside"
incomprehensible vastness
man's natural desire for the exalted
Interest in Science and cosmic themes
Pollock's drip paintings
"Cathedral" and "Number 1"
laid canvas on floor and used brushes as sticks, hovering just above the surface and using gravity and arm and body movements.
translate the act of painting into an adventure of self realization, "I am nature"
demand that the viewer surrender intellectual control while empathizing with the energetic color and movement
overwhelm viewer with huge scale and textural richness
influenced by Kandinsky - spontaneity and spiritual content
each drip painting is unique and an "event"
influenced heavily by existentialism and the realization and search for "self"
"Number 1" has multiple impressions of artist's own hand in upper right, which represents visceral immediacy of the artist's personal presence.
Jackson Polluck
Drew inspiration from African and Native American Art and the Mexican Muralists
Permitted the unconscious to determine the form
"drip paintings" and "all-over" composition

Onement I
1948 - breakthrough in painting
was going to be a background for another piece that sat in the studio for almost a year untouched
Newman keeps looking at it until he got it - it wiped out the problem of composition and forced the viewer to apprehend it in terms of idea.
He incorporated "zip" in almos all subsequent works
Onement represent Atonement, a concept for the Jews, which was marked as Yom Kippur, Holy Day to reflect on creation
symbolizes Genesis - an act of creation
Zip down middle represents God's separation of lightness and darkness
It is a primal act
color symbolizes earth and Adam - red - brown
celebrates human creativity and Adam and Eve conjoined
De Kooning, Pollock and Barnett Newman
classically trained
born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands
shows skill in renderings of earlier still lifes
1935 - Federal Art Project in New York
Arshile Gorky was closest friend
Peggy Guggenheim invites him to show at Art of This Century but he refuses because he was just beginning to find his own style and he did not like the Surrealist artists in her circle.
Egan Gallery - first one man show - 1948
associates chiefly with abstract artist but never abandones figurative imagery
influenced by Picasso
shapes evolve from Human anatomical parts
Reuses shapes by tracing them - such as in his "black and white" paintings
organized "The Club" - through the purchase of a loft, for artists to relax together and do work.

New York - no environment
more intellectually sophisticated
impressions of city's excavation site
abstract train of thought
born in Cody, Wyoming 1912
youngest of 5 sons who all wanted to paint due t mothers' influence
father was a failed truck farmer - economic instability
changed name from "Paul" to "Jackson" - more manly
dropped out of High School and went to New York
studied under Thomas Hart Benton at The Art Students League -
The Arts of the West" - rhythmic system of interlocking curves and countercurves
Jungian psychoanalysis - acute depression and alcoholism
Jung affected art by encouraging his searh for totemic images with a universal unconscious meaning
moved in with Krasner who is said to have stabilized him more successfully than the psychoanalysis. - began his successful career.
Pollock worked impulsively and directly onto the canvas - it was a recorded spontaneity
gestture carries expressive content
dark curving verticals have a figural reference influenced by Native American pictographs - Indian San Paintings
Images emerge inevitably emerge from unconscious, through free association rather than as a deliberate iconography
large 8-by-20 feet scale forces artist to work on floor like the Navajo sand painters
even distribution of compositional interest = most revolutionary feature
Shimmering Substance
handled entire surface as an even field of gestural strokes
devoid of any overt imagery
Freedom made possible by the eveness of the distribution of visual activity.
influenced by Spinoza, philosopher who ranked knowledge in 3 levels. 1) data and rules learned without any reference to the intellect 2) things learned by deduction or logic 3) (the highest order of knowledge) immediate knowledge, using reason, but obtained through a direct intuition to the essence of things, an insight that went beyond reason.
Vir Heroicus Sublimis
metaphysical absoluteness
antithesis of the precious object
Latin title means "man heroic and sublime."
hidden square in middle = perfection of the center
color field evokes and infinate universe and completely lacks texture or sense of human intervention
zips convey painters presence
The station of the Cross
Newman was not a religious zealot, he intended to deal with the abstract and universal experience which each of the subjects evoked
Lema Sabachthani - Why? Why did you forsake me? - this represents the first station, an absolute ring of spirituality, a condemnation of Christ
The right edge with more clouded human doubts about death and condemnation is painted roughly along an edge.
There is a constant dialog between the right and the left.
Newman experimented with sculpture as well which convey more a sense of place. ( the place in which one can be)
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