Last month the art world lost a giant. German American painter Wolf Kahn 1927 – 2020
Kahn, known for his combination of Realism and Color Field, worked in pastel and oil paint. He studied under Hans Hofmann, and also graduated from the University of Chicago. Kahn was a resident of both New York City and, during the summer and autumn, West Brattleboro, Vermont.
In 2015 I got to see him give a demonstration of his process during which I took careful notes writing down what he said. The phrase that sticks with me is "Be in love with chaos." Not learn to cope, but embrace it. Seems like a useful thought for today.
To learn more about Wolf Kahn
Today I picked American Photographer Alfred Stieglitz 1864-1946 specifically Equivalents part of his cloud series. I love the way that Steiglitz used the cloud as a metaphor for his mood at the time the pictured was captured. It seems that I am getting used to this pandemic way of life and and managing my ephemeral moods.
from The Art Story
Stieglitz's cloud series - Equivalents - captured ephemeral formations in the sky. This photo is divided between dark, black clouds on the left and bright sky on the right. Without context, the subject seems difficult to pinpoint, though Stieglitz intended the series to be an exploration of his changing mental state, with each shot of the sky representing an equivalent of his mood at the time the picture was captured. One of his more revered later works, the series is also the high point of abstraction in his career.
"Emerging first in the milieu of Pictorial photography, Stieglitz sought to gain recognition for his medium by producing effects that paralleled those found in other fine arts such as painting. Many of his peers resorted to elaborate re-touching to create an impression of the handmade, but Stieglitz relied more on compositional effects and mastery of tone, often concentrating on natural effects such as snow and steam to create qualities similar to those of the Impressionists."
"I have a vision of life, and I try to find equivalents for it in the form of photographs." Alfred Stieglitz
From the relative calm and erie quiet of suburban New Jersey, I keep my eye on what's happening with the virus in the city. Today's artist is American painter Joan Mitchell 1925-1992. Specifically the piece City Landscape from 1955. The intensity of the color and the placement of the strokes clustered together speak to me of raw energy that is beautiful and dangerous.
About Joan Mitchell From Theartstory.com
Joan Mitchell is known for the compositional rhythms, bold coloration, and sweeping gestural brushstrokes of her large and often multi-paneled paintings. Inspired by landscape, nature, and poetry, her intent was not to create a recognizable image, but to convey emotions. Mitchell's early success in the 1950s was striking at a time when few women artists were recognized. She referred to herself as the "last Abstract Expressionist," and she continued to create abstract paintings until her death in 1992.
“My paintings are titled after they are finished. I paint from remembered landscapes that I carry with me—and remembered feelings of them, which of course become transformed,” Joan Mitchell
I woke up in a dark mood that I couldn't shake, even after scoring an instacart pick up slot. I decided that Ad Reinhardt and Untitled 1960 was the perfect illustration for how I feel today.
Until recently I had never heard of American painter Ad Reinhardt 1913-1967. I was at the Princeton University art museum in February where I saw his piece - Untitled 1960. When you stand in front of this painting you can see that it is not solid black. It is a grid of 9 squares with small amounts of red, green, or blue to black pigment.
"The only way to say what abstract is, is to say what it is not." Ad Reinhardt
"Ad Reinhardt was a prominent American abstract artist, writer, critic, and educator. Although commonly associated with the Abstract Expressionists, his work had its origins in geometric abstraction, and, increasingly seeking to purify his painting of everything he saw as extraneous to art, he rejected the movement's expressionism. Although he was in turn rejected by many of his peers, he was later hailed as a prophet by Minimalists. His Black Paintings, which occupied him from 1954 until his death, are regarded as his crowning achievement, while the many cartoons he created that made fun of the art world brought him fame as a wry commentator."
Today's artist is French Painter Claude Monet 1840-1926 specifically the painting Woman with a Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son. I picked this piece today simply because it's sunny this morning and it helps.
"Quite uniquely, Monet paints into the light letting the model's features fade into the shadow. Most artists would avoid such a positioning of their subject as it is difficult to reproduce any detail - and even to look at your subject. But Monet is interested in light itself, and captures it in the scene in an unmatched way."
read more here
"The light constantly changes, and that alters the atmosphere and beauty of things every minute.
Today's artist is American painter Cy Twombly 1928 - 2011 and his piece - Analysis of the Rose as Sentimental Despair Part I (1985).
It's a somber day. This painting is reflective of the confusion, anger and heavy sadness I feel about the probable death statistics being reported.
"In both the content and process of his art, Twombly was interested in the layering of time and history, of painting and drawing, and of various meanings and associations. His art situates itself in the context of the history of Western civilization as well as the process-oriented aspects of Abstract Expressionism." TheArt Story.com
To my mind, one does not put oneself in place of the past; one only adds a new link.
I got up at 5 to check for a grocery delivery/pick up slot which led me to American painter Andy Warhol 1928-1987 and his iconic paintings of Campbell's Soup Cans from 1968. Not my most imaginative selection but thats where I am :) I love the graphic impact and the idea of painting the ordinary plus the reception fits quite nicely with where I find myself this morning.
"Consumer goods and ad imagery were flooding the lives of Americans with the prosperity of that age and Warhol set out to subtly recreate that abundance, via images found in advertising. He recreated on canvas the experience of being in a supermarket. So, Warhol is credited with envisioning a new type of art that glorified (and also criticized) the consumption habits of his contemporaries and consumers today."
"The reason I'm painting this way is that I want to be a machine, and I feel that whatever I do and do machine-like is what I want to do. " Andy Warhol
As I am feeling my stomach in knots this gray morning, I thought of American painter Jackson Pollock and this painting Autumn Rhythm Number 30- 1950.
"The balance between control and chance that Pollock maintained throughout his working process produced compositions that can have as much calm tranquillity as some works by Rothko."
"The strangeness will wear off and I think we will discover the deeper meanings in modern art." Jackson Pollock
The phrase - safe at home made me think of A Day Indoors 1962 by American painter Fairfield Porter (1907- 1975). I love the color and how each person is occupied in the same room (like many of us) and the space between the figures is part of the composition.
Fairfield Porter was one of the foremost practitioners of representational painting in the American art world of the mid-20th century. For several decades he created portraits, domestic scenes, and landscapes of the places he lived in, all depicting a relaxed and comfortable world that seemed to mirror his own affluent, well-connected existence.
"I was never one to paint space, I paint air." Fairfield Porter
My artist of the day posts have evolved into posting a painting that captures some part of today's emotion. I am trying to chronicle how I feel during this challenge through paintings.
Its a a gray day here and it seems more somber than it has been for the past two weeks, I think people are getting weary of making the best of things. I chose this early Andrew Wyeth watercolor - The Road to Friendship from 1941. The moody grayness and the distance seems evocative of where we are today and the title which references an actual place can also be taken literally.
“I think one's art goes as far and as deep as one's love goes. I see no reason for painting but that. If I have anything to offer, it is my emotional contact with the place where I live and the people I do.” - Andrew Wyeth