A Mini-look at Painting Related to Colorfield Painting

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

Creative Positive Reinforcement

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

My Career as an Artist

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

Boston Home Decor Show 2017

i’m really excited about this year’s Boston Home Decor Show which is the final event of Boston Design Week, April 6-9. I have all new work this year. Click here to read the review in Maine Antique Digest Boston Home Decor Review

Art as Therapy

Read my article Art Therapy published in Antiques Magazine: Click here Art Therapy