Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Glass Half Empty cont

When painters look at the works of other artists they pay particular attention to any aspects they find to be structurally distinct. These anomalies usually provide the key to understanding the nature of the artist's concerns:his concept. English artist Henry Moore for example, scooped deep concavities into the surfaces of his sculptures and punched holes through their volumes. These "Innovations" are celebrated for heightening our awareness and appreciation of empty space. In actuality,Moore's true innovation was to use the artists' age-old manipulation of the interplay of empty and full in so simplified a manner that even critics peering over the tops of deep-dish martinis couldn't miss the point.I've diagrammed the structures of two pictures{the Rembrandt and Pyle below} illustrating the carefully orchestrated interplay of forms and hollows. In both a central hole is driven through the space from front to back hollowing out the forms with which the space coexists in a dovetailing, Yin-Yang arrangement that would satisfy the most orthodox Taoist. In addition both Rembrandt and Pyle superimposed beautiful 2 dimensional patterns on top of their virtual 3 dimensional organizations. Modern artists are frequently granted paternity for the innovations of others; often because of the greater salience effected by a clumsy ,phthisic adaptation of the original source.Jackson Pollack for example studied with the Mexican Muralist David Alfaro Siquieros whose work exhibits the drips and dramatic application of paint later credited to Pollack. Unlike Siquieros whose masterful control enabled him to harness the inherent dynamism of the technique to create works of volcanic force, Pollack could merely ape the superficial aspects of his teacher's approach.Thomas Hart Benton ,another of Pollack's teachers recalled late night phone calls from him ,seeking his imprimatur for his purloined scribbles. Self assessment of his own artistic integrity doubtlessly led to pollack's perpetual potation.

The Glass Half Empty