HOW TO LOOK AT ABSTRACT ART
Open Culture is a website that, as they put it, “scours the web for the best educational media. We find the free courses and audio books you need, the language lessons & educational videos you want, and plenty of enlightenment in between.”
Recently, they posted some insights from a seemingly unexpected source on how to look at abstract art: Actor, Comedian, Director Steve Martin:
“The standard “anyone could do that” response to abstract art generally falls apart when the person who says it tries their hand at making something like a Kandinsky or Miró. Not only were these artists highly trained in techniques and materials, but both possessed their own specific theories of abstract art—the role of line, color, shape, negative space, etc., along with grander ideas about the role of art itself. Few of us walk around with such considered opinions and the ability to turn them into artworks. The abstraction begins in the mind before it reaches the canvas.
For his appearance on the Museum of Modern Art and BBC web series The Way I See It, Steve Martin chose two obscure American abstract artists who perfectly illustrate the relationship between the theory and practice of abstraction.
“I don’t generally care about theories,” Martin says. “They kind of get in the way of looking at the picture. But I think the result of working from a theory can be fantastic.” We may not need to know that these two artists, Morgan Russell and Stanton Macdonald Wright, painted in accordance with a theory they called Synchromism, but it certainly helps.
“The resulting paintings, called Synchromies,” explains The Art Story, “used the color scale in the way notes might be arranged in a musical piece. As the two artists wrote, ‘Synchromism simply means ‘with color’ as symphony means ‘with sound’….”
The Way I See It series acts as a teaser for a BBC podcast of the same name, which interviews 30 creatives and scientists on their responses to pieces of art in the MoMA’s collection. See more of these short videos at the MoMA’s YouTube channel. Download episodes of the podcast here.
We’re updating the website and will soon repost our video exploration of what some observers see in the contemporary abstract paintings of Laura Meddens when viewed from ‘changing perspectives. This is not meant to lead your own interpretations or conclusions, but merely to illustrate the remarkable hidden gems that emerge from Laura’s works when viewed from varying points of focus, lighting and perspectives. Let us know at our Facebook page what discoveries you make!
Although these works were captured in fleeting moments in my mind’s eye, I invite you to linger over them to discover different shapes and textures that become apparent from different angles and in different light.
While I may have painted and named a work like Extreme Obligations in a vertical portrait format, a friend told me that if you view it in a horizontal landscape position, it could be called Major Tom, after the character in David Bowie’s Space Oddity, because of the tiny helmeted figure of a spaceman that can be seen stranded on an asteroid in space.
Similar descriptions from a variety of people on my works lead me to invite you to view them from afar, up-close and from different perspectives.
Some people see in the painting Metamorphosis the cross-legged figure of Siddhartha, the birth name of the founder of Buddhism, and the title character in the novel by Herman Hesse.
Hoewel deze werken op vluchtige momenten in mijn verbeelding werden vastgelegd, nodig ik je uit er langer bij stil te staan om de verschillende vormen en texturen te ontdekken die vanuit verschillende invalshoeken en in ander licht naar voren komen.
Een werk als Extreme Obligations heb ik in staand portretformaat geschilderd en de titel gegeven, maar een vriend vertelde mij dat als je het in de liggende positie van een landschap bekijkt, het ook wel Major Tom zou kunnen heten, naar het personage in Space Oddity van David Bowie, omdat het een kleine gehelmde figuur van een ruimtevaarder is die op een asteroïde in de ruimte is gestrand.
Ik nodig je uit om mijn werken van veraf, dichtbij en vanuit diverse invalshoeken te bekijken.
Sommigen zien in het schilderij Metamorphosis de kleermakerszit van Siddhartha, de geboortenaam van de grondlegger van het boeddhisme, en het titelpersonage in de roman van Herman Hesse.
Others see in Amazon Sorrow the sad eye of a tribal chieftain wearing his colorful headdress as he covers his left eye with his hand, perhaps mourning the loss of more Amazon rainforest.
While I can’t see the results of my work on these paintings, I can tell you what I saw in my mind’s eye as these incredible visualizations unfolded. But that will be for when I meet you at an exhibition or in a publication, or TV program.
In the meantime, please view them with an open mind and without any expectations, and see what interpretations unfold in your mind’s eye.
I hope you enjoy them.
Anderen zien in Amazon Sorrow het droevige oog van een stamhoofd dat zijn kleurrijke hoofdtooi draagt, wellicht treurend om het verlies van nog meer regenwoud in het Amazonegebied.
Hoewel ik de resultaten van mijn werk aan deze schilderijen niet kan zien, kan ik je wel vertellen wat ik in mijn gedachten zag toen deze ongelooflijke visualisaties zich ontvouwden. Maar dat bewaar ik voor als ik je op een tentoonstelling ontmoet of voor een andere publicatie.
Bekijk ze ondertussen met een open blik en zonder verwachtingen, en zie welke interpretaties zich in jouw verbeelding ontvouwen.
Ik hoop dat je ze leuk vindt.
NEW WORKS AND A VERY SICK DOG
After recovering from the initial illness, Nugget had an abscess in his inner-cheek which required draining and antibiotic treatment. (Photo: H. Alberts). The veterinarian found small bite marks that could have come from play with one of his dog friends, and may have infected a salivary gland. Nugget may also have had a one or more grass awns (baardgras in NL) in his skin, which are very dangerous. See the photos and details below.
Another initial fear was that he had been exposed to toxic blue-green algae that has become a very serious threat to animals and humans in NL and other countries because of hotter temperatures. So we’ve placed a couple of videos below to educate other dog owners.
At the end of May, Laura’s guide dog Nugget from The Seeing Eye got very sick. He got very unsteady on his legs and just collapsed. Needless to say, he was rushed to the veterinary clinic, and was referred on to a specialist clinic where tests were done to try and pinpoint the cause.
While the exact cause is still a mystery, Nugget is now improving day by day. That allowed Laura to resume work on some new paintings which you can see previewed on the Home page.
Laura sends a very big thank you to the veterinary Doctors and their staff at the Huizerweg, MCD and Dierenliniek IJburglaan clinics for their great care of Nugget.
GRASS AWNS CAN BE DEADLY FOR DOGS
Illustrations and text from: Tractive.com
What do you know about grass awns? Probably not enough. Scary as it may sound, grass awns can kill your dog. Because they flourish during summer, you should inform yourself before letting your dog wander in the countryside.
They are sharp, (sometimes) barbed grass seeds which are produced by some specific types of grass. Grass awns burrow into the dog’s skin causing pain to the animal. Grass awns are just one of the many danger your dog is exposed to when he or she is outdoors.
Grass awns can be inhaled and swallowed and can even penetrate the dog’s skin. If not removed in a timely fashion, they can lead to the formation of painful abscesses, requiring regular drainage of fluids.
The problem with grass awns is that they are difficult to locate. Should you spot the grass awn, make sure to remove it as quickly as you can. A pair of tweezers will do the job. But problems come when it’s impossible to spot the grass awn. Consult your veterinarian and they can help you try to trace it.
ARCHIVE OF PREVIOUS POSTS
As part of our update of the website, we’ve setup an Archive section for previous Blog posts as well as information about previous Exhibitions which you can access on our Archive Page.