Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Abstraction Then

Concord/ 1949

Click on Post Title for link to interview with Barnett Newman. One of the issues raised in the Year 1 group crits today was the fact that back then, painters by and large had worked towards abstraction by way of more figurative approaches, through a distilation of style (this going as far back as, say, Mondrian, through to Rothko, de Kooning and so on.) Newman was one of the few examples who avoided this, although this can partly be explained by his slightly delayed  committment to painting full-time due to family binds, and the scarcity of any surviving earlier work. His work remains the most difficult (and as a result most rewarding) to look at- influencing artists such as Stella, Judd and Flavin and giving them good reasons to bypass figuration altogether.

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