Saturday, August 12, 2017

Robin's Catalogs

I have been gifted with a large box full of old exhibition catalogs.

The donor was Robin Mumford, a friend and art consultant. 
It looks like a great opportunity to continue my art education.


This will be an ongoing project over the upcoming year(s) so this post will continue to grow.

Stephen Pace (1918-2010), 1960

Stephen Pace, 1959 (detail)

Makes for an interesting comparison with an ABX painting done 55 years later by a much older man:

Jim Dine, "Coming from Darkness, I Hear You Laugh" (detail) 2016

Stephen Pace, 1978

What a shocker!  He went figurative and he liked to look at attractive young women.

But maybe not so surprising --  from the very beginning of his career, he was a good friend of Milton  Avery.

Milton Avery

Stephen Pace

Not very subtle -- but what a delight!  By the way, this kind of design can also be executed on a digital drawing tablet - which is how my father, Pace's contemporary,  worked in the decades that followed:

Richard J. Miller, "At Charlie's Place", 1999

(a few more are shown here )


Patrick Heron (1920-1999)    (1958)

A painting is not something which exists in order to convey meaning.  On the contrary, “meaning” is something which  attaches itself to that  independent autonomous object”...   1958 

As the above quote might suggest, Patrick Heron was committed to non-representational painting. And as you might note, he was as eloquent in writing as he was in painting.

And yet -- he still seems to be painting still lifes -- i.e. discrete objects in space -- even if they are not recognizable as anything else.

Patrick Heron, 1986

Patrick Heron, 1995

In later decades, he seems to have focused more on gouache on paper rather than oil on canvas.

“To make oneself available to previously uncharted rhythmic movements, suggestions, and devices – this is the great idea” .. 1987

That certainly seems to be what he is doing -  though one might say that every painting, other than an identical copy, is exploring uncharted territory

A painting has a certain identifiable speed of execution which it communicates – 1985

He offers the example of Van Gogh's brushwork.  I cannot tell if it was faster or slower than Monet's -but perhaps Heron could.

His emphasis on speed of execution might suggest that not much planning went into his painting - it was all improvisatory.  Apparently, he liked the idea of action painting, that was trending more then than now.

So one might expect his execution to feel more exciting than his design -- which I find more pleasing than earth shaking.

“ I hate all symbols in painting… I love, instead,  all images”  -- 1963
Perhaps I should make the same confession - even if symbol and image cannot be completely separated.

Symbols can be annoying -- especially if you're unsure of what they were intended to represent. A symbol can be misinterpreted - but an image is just what it is.