Posts filed under “Art”
Traditional methods of drawing emphasize creating the illusion of thingness through representation of the irrelevant and distracting details of the thing. Abstract expressionism rejects such artificial illusion and purifies art to its essentials.
It is a mistake, however, to assume that abstract expressionist art is not representational. Nothing could be further from the truth. Abstract expressionism seeks true representation by eliminating the irrelevant, leaving only the essential of the thing represented.
Let us take as an example this drawing of a stagecoach:
In this old-fashioned drawing, the artist has wasted minutes, perhaps even hours, of effort on the various parts of four separate horses, the wheels of the coach, and even individual passengers inside, when it is clear that the essential element of the picture is its horizontality. The properly trained artist therefore reproduces only what is essential in his production:
Stagecoach, by Lambert Bedlam.
On the other hand, in this picture of Anna Karenina, inspired by the heroine of Tolstoy’s novel, the essential element is diagonality.
Here the artist has expended a simply obscene amount of labor on irrelevancies, going so far as to duplicate every wrinkle of each glove. The abstract expressionist, on the other hand, at once recognizes what is essential, and reproduces that alone:
Anna Karenina, by Vitaly Wallaby-Perkins.
Who can doubt that Tolstoy would recognize his heroine at once?
Having once seen the method, we can immediately understand how the painters of the following works have applied it to their chosen subjects:
The American Mail Steamer John L. Stephens Arriving at Liverpool, by Ratchet Dawson III.
Nude Reading the Congressional Record, by Emily Pitchfork.
Frank Julian Sprague Falling Down an Elevator Shaft, by Arnold M. Shoehorn.
Rose Mary Woods Accidentally Erasing 18½ Minutes of Conversation, by Richard M. Nixon.
The arts having progressed considerably since the primitive days of ancient Greece, it is time for a truly up-to-date list of Muses.
Alexis, Muse of Supermarket-Checkout Tabloids.
Madison, Muse of Comic-Book Superhero Franchises.
Olivia, Muse of Telephone Scams.
Kaylee, Muse of First-Person Shooter Games.
Makayla, Muse of Tweets and Facebook Statuses.
Brandy, Muse of 24-Hour News Channels.
Addison, Muse of Acoustic Folk Bands in the Parking Lot of Whole Foods.
Riley, Muse of Installation Art.
Kaitlin, Muse of Texting While Driving.
By the 1960s, Rockwell, whose wife had died, gave up the Saturday Evening Post to develop a different, more political type of illustration. It was partly out of a desire to engage with issues such as desegregation (he was on the side of civil rights out of an old-fashioned belief in equality)…
Here Dr. Boli stops reading, distracted by an intellectual puzzle. He is still puzzling, in fact, because he cannot answer this simple question: What other reason is there for being on the side of civil rights?
Dr. Boli has a confession to make that will probably disappoint many of his readers, which is that Norman Rockwell’s illustrations always give him a vaguely queasy feeling. But the review in the Independent made him want to leap to Rockwell’s defense. Mr. Rockwell and Dr. Boli do at least share an old-fashioned belief in equality; and if it is old-fashioned, then Dr. Boli will take care never to allow his own beliefs to be brought up to date.
Enlarge this engraving (by clicking on it) and examine it at your leisure.
Dr. Boli has only two questions for you about this picture:
1. Could any photograph ever give us such an attractive and romantic impression of a machine shop?
2. In the lower right, is that a graveyard of machinists who died in horrible accidents?
From The Booklovers Magazine, 1904.
Dr. Boli thinks this is a very funny picture. More specifically, he thinks that there is more humor in the position of the cardinal’s one red slipper than you will find in the entire comics page of today’s newspaper, assuming you can see the comics in today’s newspaper without an electron microscope. It seems that M. Vibert specialized in poking fun at overstuffed ecclesiastics.
This and many other pictures—humorous, beautiful, curious, and surprising—may be found at Behold!, a site that promises “a picture or more a day,” and so far has lived up to its promise.
Our friend Father Pitt, having heard that the Wikimedia Commons challenge of the month was simply black and white photography, immediately walked three steps out his back door and took the very artistic photograph above, and then submitted it to the challenge. The question is this: Is it a work of photographic art that cleverly explores line and texture in composition and discovers the beauty in the mundane, or is it a sly parody of the black-and-white art photographs of inconsequential objects that always infest photography contests? Or is it both at the same time?
In your innocence, you thought Dr. Boli was being facetious when he listed a number of upcoming articles whose topics sounded duller than anything even he would be willing to publish. Yet you underestimated him, in your innocence. Through the courtesy of the Bedfordshire Record Office, a short film from 1970:
And that says all there is to say on that topic. Yes, there are many, many videos on the Internet about marbling paper. But is there another with that distinctive produced-by-a-county-council-in-1970 aesthetic?