Comments on: The Viewer and The Grid http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-viewer-and-the-grid/ Abstract Critical is a not-for profit company aiming to establish a new critical context for all generations of artists involved with ambitious abstract art. Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:23:33 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: jenny meehan http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-viewer-and-the-grid/#comment-53411 Tue, 11 Sep 2012 13:16:30 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6110#comment-53411 I like your painting…it’s the diagonals which make me want to look at it again. I’m fond of what is to me the “missing” part bottom right (face on)…the lightest section of the small dark triangle.

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By: jenny meehan http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-viewer-and-the-grid/#comment-53380 Mon, 10 Sep 2012 19:05:30 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6110#comment-53380 You are right, it was an over generalisation for Jenny Meehan to say flat colour area+obvious grid based paintings are static, Mondrian did amazing things with his subtle vibrations of colour. I had a regular spaced grid in mind too, when making that statement. I do think as a pictorial element it doesn’t convey movement and acts to push us backwards rather than forwards. But show me something to make me think otherwise.

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By: Sam http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-viewer-and-the-grid/#comment-53363 Mon, 10 Sep 2012 07:06:26 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6110#comment-53363 I’d be interested in you developing the first part of your comment. All course all pictorial elements are static in one sense, but if I had to pick a format which restricted our ability to move through a picture, to establish a totalizing structure over it, I’d pick the grid. Not all grids are the same – I think others would disagree – but their tendency seems to me to be more likely toward stasis rather than movement. Of course I might be looking at this in the wrong way..

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By: Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-viewer-and-the-grid/#comment-53241 Sat, 08 Sep 2012 15:42:29 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6110#comment-53241 I should have thought that a grid could not be static by definition, does Jenny Meehan see Mondrian’s paintings as static?

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By: John Holland http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-viewer-and-the-grid/#comment-53198 Fri, 07 Sep 2012 12:10:04 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6110#comment-53198 Surely this analogy doesn’t hold water – it’s like using only certain words or a strictly limited set of notes. A very different proposition.

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By: Alan Fowler http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-viewer-and-the-grid/#comment-53197 Fri, 07 Sep 2012 10:45:30 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6110#comment-53197 Robin, perhaps the logic of the approach you are suggesting is that everything relates to, or is drawn from, something else, so nothing can be described as ‘pure’ abstraction – which I wouldn’t dispute as a philosophic concept. But in talking to viewers – which is what my article is about – I find that while many will “see” references to things outside the image in a gestural painting, few, if any, see an image like Natalie Dower’s as other than self-referential.

On the question of “newness”, I don’t see why the use of geometric elements is inhibitive of creative imagination. The geometry simply provides a vocabulary from which new imagery can be created. Aren’t there parallels with poetry and music ?
In both, completely new and insightful works are being created using age-old vocabularies of words, notes and rhythms.

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By: natalie Dower http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-viewer-and-the-grid/#comment-53166 Thu, 06 Sep 2012 09:45:14 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6110#comment-53166 Alan’s choice of Square Root No.2 as an example of a grid-related work took me completely by surprise, and endorses his theory that what the viewer sees cannot be anticipated by the artist.
When is a grid, a grid ? In two dictionaries, one of 1936 does not feature the word at all, a contemporary one has it as ‘a framework of spaced bars’.

For my part, the painting was an exploration of the satisfying and beautiful properties of a Root 2 Rectangle, making use, out of the infinite number of scales, those of 1, 1/4 and 1/16.
It would be interesting to know what other unexpected reactions viewers have !

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By: Noela Bewry http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-viewer-and-the-grid/#comment-53165 Thu, 06 Sep 2012 09:08:46 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6110#comment-53165 The underlying structure in music can serve as a support for unlimited variations of sound qualities, including the arbitrary and dramatic .
It does not have to limit a piece of work.
The grid does not need to be used as a visual constraint , some painters just enjoy using it like that.

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By: John Holland http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-viewer-and-the-grid/#comment-53147 Wed, 05 Sep 2012 22:44:56 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6110#comment-53147 I think it’s interesting that the overt use of the grid in painting grew more or less concurrently with serialism in music. They both want to be rid of the insufferable arbitrariness of dramatic incident, of the artist/composer ‘making stuff up’ within a little delineated world. Both look to a pre-Baroque sense of order.

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By: jenny meehan http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-viewer-and-the-grid/#comment-53145 Wed, 05 Sep 2012 21:53:19 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6110#comment-53145 Thank you for that read. For me the problem with obvious grid based paintings with flat colour areas is they lack a sense of fluidity, and are, as you pointed out, static. What is more static than a square!? When I see them I think of structure and architecture, not painting. However when it comes to colour they do offer some interesting investigations for the artist for sure. But they keep the viewer out I think, which might be desired I suppose. The cross of equal length sides is an emblem of mechanical resistance. Maybe I might change my view if I took some time to experiment myself in this area. Must try sometime.

As for geometric construction it is always lurking there. I love the book “Abstraction in Art and Nature” by Nathan Cabot Hale. How much more exciting and interesting are the more complex combinations: the possibilities of the curve and line have got to make a more visually interesting experience. And nature must be our guide, in my opinion.

I was thinking about this grid matter recently and spotted a lily. Not only was it geometric and strong in structure, but it also had a flow in the petals which together with it’s main form provided a perfect example of beauty. I have to admit, (though I am not ashamed to say it!) that I am very Eighteenth Century/Romantic in my own interests with painting and though I do like critical issues, (hence my interest in this site), I would not describe myself as an intellectual – It is not my gift. My main concern is working with the parts of the brain which respond to the experience of looking at a painting.

However I found this article very interesting and with many angles of consideration. I also confess to have fallen in love with one or two overtly grid declaring works. So, as always, I say one thing and later discover another!

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