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Posts Tagged ‘Pollock’

Colouring inside the lines

When my 5-year-old started school earlier this year, she had never been taught to “colour inside the lines”. We had colouring books around, but it was never a priority and I’d never bothered to explain how they were “meant” to work. This “inability” immediately made her suspicious to the teacher who saw it as a lack as when presented with a photocopied sheet to colour in she would simply turn it over and draw her own picture.

In the end I conceded the point that colouring in had an educational purpose e.g. how to operate pencils, crayons and brushes properly, co-ordination and a certain amount of discipline. I was helped along by this comment from tinks at OnemomentcallerDiscussing the school-based art education of their young kids, a contemporary art collector I know once suggested that you have to learn the rules before you can break them, which I kind of like, and suspect I’ll cling to in the coming years.” I also invested in this colouring book which helped me get my head around the colouring issue although as yet I haven’t let her loose on it. I still think a NZ edition would be quite brilliant – any publishers want to take me up on it? I’d be happy to do it and it would be a great seller Te Papa Press!

The issue made me think of how I used to look at abstract art. I always wanted to know if the artists could really paint/draw – you know, before they went all weird, because I wanted to see a technical ability that initially I couldn’t see in say a Pollock drip painting. Great technical execution is something I really admire in art but now I can see it in less orthodox works as well.

I’ve found it can also redeem mediums which I am not overly fond of. Recently I met an artist, Steve Hall, whose watercolours I just love. Maybe not your cup of tea but look at the light in “1907”. (yes, yes, the old NZ light issue)

Sadly it looks like I won’t be getting to the Angus Symposium this weekend, but on a brighter note “Evolution of Mirrors” arrived in the post so some good reading ahead.

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A bad influence

Some days I wonder if I unduly influence my kids – especially now my 5-year-old only draws lights in a Clairmont fashion.


3rd Panel of Staircase Triptych– Philip Clairmont

However the following “takes the cake” so to speak.  “[the party – for a 5 year old] had a gallery opening theme, at her insistence — each guest had to bring a work of art they’d made to put on the wall, and the cake was decorated to look like a Jackson Pollock canvas in progress“. I have to say I am impressed by the cake but I simply can’t imagine a kid asking for a Pollock cake (although maybe that’s where I am going wrong).


The Pollock Birthday cake (sure beats my Dora one)

I have to note that the whole context of art thing has taken on a life over at ArtBash. I like this simple little line “ART = context+art+viewer”. And I’d also reccommend “Privatising Culture” although its quite a tome.

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Strange days indeed…I’m having one of those “I have to accept I am never going to learn how to skateboard or surf” days. Even looking at surfboard and skateboard art is depressing. Its almost as bad as those days when you realise you are never going to trendy – or even funky. Lucy Jordan can have her sports car in Paris, I’d just like to be ‘hip’ for 1/2 a day :-)

I also wonder if I’ve missed the contemporary art bus (now there’s a visual image for you). I can’t even come up with a good definition of ‘Contemporary Art’ and I am finding Wikipedia annoying. The word/concept ‘Design’ is also proving challenging today. Does it really mean 1960’s orange German Pottery and $220 a roll modernist/atomic themed wallpaper? Actually the wallpaper is almost acceptable as it meets that ‘form and function’ criteria that I have in my head – but what is the function of art pottery? I guess there in itself, is the art/design delineation. Art does NOT have to have a function (maybe its a bonus if it does?). So is art just ornamentation then?

With all the gloomy talk of a recession I’ve been thinking about about art in that context too (as have others out there who are blogging). I somehow doubt there were schemes in NZ similar the Federal Art Project in the US in the Great Depression, but I think it was an interesting initiative. “New Deal arts projects were guided by two novel assumptions: artists were workers and art was cultural labor worthy of government support.” Didn’t Jackson Pollock (and Lee Krasner) come out of that? Some of the murals are pretty amazing – inspired by the Mexican mural movement and Diego Rivera. Of course there is the infamous Rockefeller Centre Murals incident (ahh – political art in its prime).


Rivera at work on the Rockefeller mural

I guess even in a depression there was money for art and I don’t think that will change much. Prices may drop, collectors may be more conservative, but art will continue to be made. On a slight tangent are the 1930’s murals anything similar to today’s bombing or throw ups or whatever you call it? Intent might be similar but there is the issue of permission – mind you, Rivera’s mural was quickly removed when “the man” didn’t like it.

More discussion on artists, families and sacrfice continues, so what about the aforementioned Lee Krasner? Obviously there was a Pollock influence but look at the earlier works.


Gouache Number 4 ( Study for Lavender)(1942) Lee Krasner

although she acknowledged Pollock’s superior gifts, she did not become his follower. More than three years his senior, she was a mature artist when they met and throughout her aesthetic evolution retained elements of her early analytical skills and structural sophistication.”

Way to go grrl!

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Shock of the new

The other day I was watching a Tui on a flax flower outside my window and I thought about taking a photo and how I would frame it etc. It suddenly occurred to me that I was imagining the resulting photo in the form of many other photographs of Tuis on flax that I have seen. This has always been an issue in my own artwork. I am a pretty good imitator but rarely come up with anything original. Most of what I produce is derivative – unintentionally or not.

 So I was thinking how do artists stay ‘fresh’ and come up with the new? I watched a video about Jackson Pollock (from the South Bank Show I think) a week or so back and they were saying he got to a point with the ‘drip paintings’ where he couldn’t take it any further or find a new expression and became quite depressed. With most really different styles of painting you can trace some sort of origin or evolution, but do some come completely out of left field? Take an earlier Pollock ‘The She Wolf’ (1943) or Birth (1938-41) you can see Picasso’s influence, but also to me I can see the same influence in Clairmont. Ok – So I haven’t done “Art History 101” but I’d like to know if anything has just appeared that seems for the most part untraceable. Bill Hammonds bird/men spring to mind.

Even so the shock to “The Establishment” of impressionism, cubism, modernism in their time is something to be celebrated. Today everything seems done or old hat and today’s “new” can seem like its trying too hard. I think our senses have become jaded.

On an unrelated front I am excited that one of my pictures(ok its a print) has escaped the garage and has been hung – albeit in the hallway.

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