Introducing the Gallery Series

Gallery Series 1

The images in this series were initially suggested/inspired by the paintings of the colour field painters of the 1950’s  –  in particular, by the works of Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman and Marc Rothko.  These painters moved away from  the representation of figurative objects and focused their attention on the direct ‘feeling’ qualities of colour.  Colour became the subject of the painting.

They wished the viewer to be engulfed by the painting and become absorbed in the experience.  To achieve this, large scale unframed canvasses were used, placed on a plain gallery background.  The two examples below give an indication of the size and display context.

Clyfford Still Exhibition

Rothko Exhibition

In addition, artists often gave guidance  on how their works should be viewed.  Barnett Newman’s painting Vir Heroicus Sublimus is a massive canvas  –  effectively 8 feet tall and 18 feet wide  –  but Newman asked the viewer to stand a mere 18 inches from the canvas and move along its length.  The experience was quite different from standing some distance away and viewing the canvas as a ‘picture’.

Rothko, too, was concerned with the viewer’s experience.  He wrote, ‘No possible set of notes can explain our paintings.  Their explanation must come out of a consummated experience between picture and onlooker.  The appreciation of art is a true marriage of minds.  And in art, as in marriage, lack of consummation is grounds for annulment.’

Of course. the conditions described cannot be replicated in WordPress and texture can only be suggested, but I would invite the viewer to visualize each image as a softly lit large scale canvas on a white gallery wall and imagine quietly contemplating the abstract pattern. Attention should focus on a feeling response rather than a rational analysis. ( No doubt Kandinsky would have associated sounds with the seeing experience.)

The use of the magnifier to enlarge the image may be helpful.

Like the artists who influenced this series, I have regarded the use of titles to be  an unnecessary distraction.


Filed under Abstract photos, Art, Colour, Imaginings, Minimalist, photography, Texture, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Introducing the Gallery Series

  1. i love your notes here – and the quote, and Newman’s 18″ proscription – it’s about embodiment, too, don’t you think? Your blue abstract fits perfectly.

    • I agree with you about ’embodiment’ – although the interpretation is likely to vary between individual viewers. It’s a question of what we bring to an image, isn’t it?

  2. I look forward to catching up …

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