In my Theoretical Studies for this Project No.3 I was interested in how Jackson Pollock had to defend himself from accusations that his paintings were "meaningless explosions of un-channeled energy" and I must admit when I first started attempting my own abstracts a few years ago this question of meaning dogged me. Until, that is, I read statements by Robert Motherwell regarding the validity of painting from the subconscious. I also remember attending an artist's talk once where the artist, John Kinglsey, in answer to the question I put to him about his approach to abstract painting, said: "I don't try to intelectualise, or rationalise a painting by thinking it out first, I just follow my intuition".
Pollock rejected the criticisms of his painting, of course, and talked about having "total control...denial of the accident...energy and motion made visible [and] memories arrested in space". I especially like that last point, which was what I think I was trying to express yesterday when I posted an answer to Melinda and Brian's questions on what my intentions were.
After almost five weeks of wide-ranging research trying to pin down those abstract artists who apparently worked from their subconscious (I found 10 out of over 25 I looked at), my attempts at "free" abstract painting, Subconscious Musings, Klinesque and Heronish "doodles", and Motherwell's "Automatic" paintings, the one thing I hadn't attempted yet was a bit of Action painting:
Action #1", acrylics on cartridge paper, 45x63.5cm.
Even with very fluid paint it's not easy getting it to drip off the end of a range of implements - brushes, sticks, palette knives - so I wasn't able at this first attempt to create and control lines. I had to make do with pouring from a plastic cup which came out in larger dollops than I wanted, but at least allowed me to blow the paint in whatever direction I chose, with the added (surprising) benefit of "feathering" into little fingers. This was exciting and lot's of fun! I felt totally engaged in the painting. As Pollock put it:"I am painting", and I don't think he meant it as a verb!
In this next one I was now gaining control of the pouring and was able to get thinner lines in the directions I wanted:
"Action #2", acrylics on cartridge paper, 45x63.5cm.
And for the third painting in this series I stayed with the same two colours which were giving maximum impact:
"Action #3", acrylics on cartridge paper, 45x63.5cm.
These just literally blew me away. I really didn't know such things were possible. The only downside was that after a few strenuous blows to get the paint moving over the surface of the paper I would become light-headed and dizzy.
So what's new I hear you say!
All of this was just limbering-up. Tomorrow the main attraction get's underway.
See you anon.