20 January 2012

What a difference a title makes (1)

A painting by Barnett Newman; the date is 1954. It can be categorised as Colour Field painting (a "direction" in Abstract Expressionism) -
Simple fields of colour, nice proportions, interesting juxtaposition of colours. But unless you knew it was by a famous painter, you wouldn't look twice, probably. It's deceptively simple - subtle. Needing patience.

Wikipedia says of Colour Field painting: Color Field is characterized primarily by large fields of flat, solid color spread across or stained into the canvas creating areas of unbroken surface and a flat picture plane. The movement places less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and action in favour of an overall consistency of form and process. In color field painting "color is freed from objective context and becomes the subject in itself." Colour Field painters "sought to rid their work of supefluous rhetoric" and to use colour in a pyschological way.

Although not lauded as a painter till late in his life, Newman (1905-1970) wrote various influential articles in the 1940s, and perhaps his writing skills (or verbal fluency) helped him with the title (or concept?) for this painting - he called it "The Gate".

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