Frank Stella, Jules Olitski and Morris Louis
have always viewed myself as a third generation Colorfield Painter I, major figures of the school being Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler, Jules Olitski, and many others, some of whom would prefer not to be pigeon-holed in the category. This work blossomed starting in the 1950’s and was viewed as decorative, less serious, inconsequential and focused on material manipulations by the late seventies. It resurges now as a more popularly viewed field with many off-shoots, some veering into serious art and some being mainly decorative. Colorfield Painting generally experimented with defining what spatial boundaries could be explored by painting. and how color aided this search. Others felt that painting had been carried to its full potential and should be dropped as an artform. Different issues like creating surface depth were largely seen as antithetical to its other major focus and not examined.
My dictionary defines the term thus:”Colorfield painting is a style of painting that that features large flat areas of color spread across the entire canvas to suggest that they extend beyond the canvas into infinity.”
It a wonderful definition and true as far as it goes. Frank Stella is the most important artist to examine spatial issues in abstraction and would probably never see himself even remotely in the same field as colorfield painters. I would agree on almost every level and grant exemption based on pure intelligence and focused analytical abilities.
Joan R. Brownstein
Dear Joan, I have just spent a very happy couple of hours exploring your painting website. I have always had a love of geometry – so your work instantly triggers all the right synapses. I am always arranging my desk and things around me geometrically, and while to some friends this is OCD, for me it is the way of nature! Interestingly though, I was also attracted by the “Stopped Flows” collection – maybe the least geometric – but still deeply inspiring. I am far too artistically uneducated to say more – but suffice it to say: it hits the spot. And more treats were in store. Your “Art as Therapy” article is just wonderful ~ the whole notion of transferring an addictive impulse towards something creative is something so positive and relevant to us all. I am so pleased my intuition led me so unexpectedly to your work!
—Peter Anderson, England
Giclee prints on Somerset 300 GSM paper
from the “Silk Fabric Series” and the series, “End of Summer”. 2016 and 2017.
My career as an artist was declared to my parents when I was six. Certainty was a feature of my announcement, and I proceeded to work towards my goal. Best guess was that I would paint landscapes, and this intention was literally acted upon until I discovered the work of Mark Rothko in a catalog years later in the Keene, New Hampshire Public Library. I paid a fine for having an overdue book for years, refusing to return it, until I was allowed to buy it.
I could have discovered Richard Diebenkorn, or Mondrian, Jules Olitski or Morris Louis, but Rothko stuck, so to speak. In it was enough to occupy a lifetime of discovery, like reading a great book and then discovering another. I copied my idols as best I could, learning early that you adopt fragments and they become part of you, and others are let go of (bad grammar), like dropping the hand that walks you safely across the street.
I looked at the work of these people and found that in the critics’ analysis as implied were the very things that made this work meaningful to me. Abstraction was not devoid of realistic content, and a flat surface derived through reduced color values was not a necessary part of abstraction.
I wanted deep space, but I didn’t want to portray specific space. Clouds, patterns washed into the sand, riverbeds eaten into deep valleys. Space, for me is a geological phenomenon: movement, texture, erosion, time travel from surface into a black hole. Depth can vary, but contact with the surface establishes a place for the viewer to stand. That space, between the viewer and the picture plane is part of the work: active, engaged, defining.
I have looked for ways to establish deep space, and within this space I have tried to find a place: land, sea, sky. This small show is composed of silk scarves: layered, projecting from beneath another, submerged, turning and twisting. They have been lighted, rotated, cropped and extended, and important to me, photographed with the small camera in my cell phone. They have then been printed, copied onto paper that more suits the image and cropped to focus on its visual core.
Joan R. Brownstein
Dear Helen, also Doug and Lynn, and Micheal,
I have been remiss. I have not answered your emails and feel remorse. You showed an interest in my work and I did not reply.. Words are difficult to find. Painting is a conversation, but with myself. But you heard me. Helen gave me a clue. Hidden inside my small box of square business cards (called moo cards) she slipped in a similar card of her own. Today I found it and went to her website. She mentioned Richard Diebenkorn as an influence, a major influence that I mention, too, on my website. We both do abstract and representational work. We are the same age, we have shown in the same gallery which is where we met and spoke briefly. I forget names. I feel close to her.
Doug and Lynn. Is either of you an artist? The odds are great. Please let me know. We feel close to people who respond to our work because they relate to us, too.
Michael, you requested a price list. I will send you a separate note. Are you an artist? I will post the results of this one question survey. Thank you all for the time you took to write and the appreciation you showed.
With fond regards,
I hesitate to say this, but I have Parkinson’s Disease, and one medication I take causes addictive behaviors. For me it was shopping- benign enough however extravagant. But it wasn’t doing drugs, drinking, gambling, whatever negative things you can think of. Then I started to make art again last year and put my previous profession more into the background of my life. I had to, as painting occupied most of my waking hours. I now paint 8 to 10 hours about 6 days a week, an addiction that makes me happy, involved with life, doing something positive. Someone I met in a store, where I didn’t buy anything, just looked at beautiful things I would have bought a year ago, asked me to write about my behavior change and see if other people could in some way find a way to find different addictions, too. So here it is. “How I became a painter again”.
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