Blackpaint 23

Abstract Art

Found a great quotation today in the Penguin Book of Art Writing; “..the arrangement of colours and lines is an art analogous to the composition of music, and entirely independent of the representation of facts.  Good colouring does not necessarily convey the image of anything but itself”.  The writer is John Ruskin.

In the following extract, David Sylvester, writing about a print of Barnett Newman’s, says,”The more I looked at it, the more it made me wonder why painters since time immemorial had bothered to put in all those arms and legs and heads”.

That’s about it in a nutshell for me, as regards abstract art – although I still have a nagging sense that art should have a social purpose, the product no doubt of all those years as a lefty hanger-on.  Then again, if you look at the awful stuff knocked out by the Socialist Realists (and Nazi art, for that matter), social purpose sounds poisonous.  I suppose I’m saying art with a message is OK if the message is subversive, and if its produced by the “oppressed”, broadly speaking.  Art explicitly in support of a system in power is not OK.  I’ll come back to this tomorrow with examples that will, on doubt, completely undermine this half – baked statement.

Below – Peter Lanyon’s “Lost Mine”





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