Comments on: Improvisation in Abstraction http://abstractcritical.com/note/improvisation-in-abstraction/ 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: Katrina http://abstractcritical.com/note/improvisation-in-abstraction/#comment-231516 Fri, 30 Aug 2013 09:02:25 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7279#comment-231516 No I agree there has to be some sort of objective criteria. And there are a lot of different things that make a painting good: form/all sorts of aesthetic considerations, composition, structure, colour, mark making, scale relationships, use of material, intention, concept, intellect, references, quotations, confidence, experimentation………if you are a teacher surely you can discuss all of these things re abstract painting and you can see if something is working – otherwise what is the point of art schools? I personally think that ‘originality’ is low down on the list and it would feel ridiculous to be going into my studio with that intention. It is tricky to compare/use ‘art from the past’ eg religious painting to make considered judgements about the success of a painting today but why not? They were thinking about all those things I mentioned above as well as the spiritual/narrative – which is irrelevant to us now – unless you are e.g. a practising Christian. Looking at and reading about early Florentine panel painting has been useful for me recently – I could equally be trying to work out what is good about a particular Matisse painting. However, what is great is we now have got lots of 20th century abstract work to study now, and I look at it and think about it all the time…… ps the ‘subjective’ bit? I try not to be……when I saw the Anne Smart paintings (different from my own work – or maybe not…..) I could see even from dodgy cropped photos that they are really ‘good’ for all sorts of reasons – I do ‘like’ them too but that is not so important.

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By: Robert Linsley http://abstractcritical.com/note/improvisation-in-abstraction/#comment-230195 Wed, 28 Aug 2013 23:30:37 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7279#comment-230195 Dear Mr. Boud, I am sure you are right.
Robert

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By: Bobby Boud http://abstractcritical.com/note/improvisation-in-abstraction/#comment-229303 Wed, 28 Aug 2013 06:56:13 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7279#comment-229303 To Robert Lindsey
I was engrossed in your article. It said for me everything exciting art aspires to. My only comment would be that as an artist, I wonder if there can ever by absolute abstraction. During the course of a painting, memories come to mind, and no matter how loose they are, they seem to make their way into the work. So,perhaps even in the most expressive and abstract of works, there is some hidden record of reality and past observation or memory.

Kind regards
Bobby Boud
England

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By: Jeffrey Kurland http://abstractcritical.com/note/improvisation-in-abstraction/#comment-225262 Fri, 23 Aug 2013 20:01:09 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7279#comment-225262 Knowing when a painting is finished is the art of the art. Recognizing when a painting has arrived is tough.

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By: Robert Linsley http://abstractcritical.com/note/improvisation-in-abstraction/#comment-224529 Fri, 23 Aug 2013 02:06:21 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7279#comment-224529 Katrina, What is “good?” You must have an objective criterion, and originality or novelty is objective. It can always be measured against what already exists. Maybe you don’t think we need objective criteria, that it’s all subjective. That’s fine, but then there are as many “good” works as there are people to appreciate them. That might also be fine for you, but sadly not for me.

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By: Peter Stott http://abstractcritical.com/note/improvisation-in-abstraction/#comment-224480 Fri, 23 Aug 2013 00:16:30 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7279#comment-224480 ‘New’ is probably a misnomer, ‘beyond’ is probably near to it i.e. there is more to know beyond what is currently understood and improvisation is a method of attempting to tease that out.

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By: Katrina http://abstractcritical.com/note/improvisation-in-abstraction/#comment-224470 Thu, 22 Aug 2013 23:47:11 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7279#comment-224470 Why do you think that viewers usually only care about the finished product? Surely the viewer may also care about why and how the painting was done (the journey – theoretical or material) as well as the conditions: whether of the painter herself i.e. personal or the time it was painted, social, political etc. not to mention the intentions of the painter. If the viewer doesn’t ask any questions about all these things (or is unable to make judgements about form, colour etc.) then that is probably not their fault – our education system/the media is rubbish on art.

What you have said about improvisation and painting is a bit mystical for me – miracles? – are you saying that ‘the most ambitious art’, therefore potentially the ‘best’ art has to be produced through improvisation? – because of this ‘unknown’ idea? Where does Bach fit in to this equation (Bosch, Bob Dylan, Max Bill, Lohse etc. etc.)? Furthermore, I don’t understand why artists – particularly abstract painters keep searching for the ‘new’ as if that was the only end game/some sort of thrill – what about ‘good’?

(+ personally I don’t think that Jackson Pollock was really an improviser at all – I think he knew pretty much what he was doing and where he was going each time – he hit on something good, and using all his skills, knowledge and experience decided to pursue it.)

Maybe I got the wrong end of stick?

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By: Sam http://abstractcritical.com/note/improvisation-in-abstraction/#comment-217700 Thu, 15 Aug 2013 13:59:36 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7279#comment-217700 I wasn’t just alluding to your work. More later…

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By: Paul Reeve http://abstractcritical.com/note/improvisation-in-abstraction/#comment-217692 Thu, 15 Aug 2013 13:51:10 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7279#comment-217692 Thank you for an exceptionally interesting article and for the stimulating comments. One of the most clarifying articles that I have read for a long time.

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By: Robert Linsley http://abstractcritical.com/note/improvisation-in-abstraction/#comment-217522 Thu, 15 Aug 2013 10:50:18 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=7279#comment-217522 When we start talking about creative process, things can get pretty general pretty fast. I think even Poussin used to improvise, in the sense that once the larger structure was set he probably filled in a lot of details directly with the brush, without sketching them first. But it’s not a far-fetched idea to suggest that there is some kind of qualitative difference in post-war art that we might call improvisation. And if you are saying that it entails limitations, that the work loses something thereby, I agree completely. “Improvising against a tub of paint and a blank canvas” seems like a limited strategy right from the start. By the way, as he has developed Stella has become more like an old master than any other contemporary I can think of. He plans like an old master, but still keeps a space for improvisation, and yet maybe it’s more a question of energy than process.

If you are alluding to my work, I would just say don’t be quick to assume that you understand what’s going on. The process for me is not quite the same as what I describe in the article.

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