And yet, I feel that a composition should work when you squint at it. Which would mean that the eye direction, gaze vectors and narrative associations would dissappear from the table.
This means that the purely abstract, non-associative forces on a 2D surface are distinct from the associative, figurative and thereby dramatic forces. However it is crucial that they must become fused when the work is done or all is lost.
It is this very fusion of the two domains is what gives off the special energy unique to flat, still pictures.
You may want to balance the composition for aesthetic reasons. But I can certainly imagine some situations where aesthetic balance will go against the theme of the picture. The core must rule the entirety.
What you said before this Kev, I'm in agreement with and the two things are bound closer together than I thought - we even read a random ink spodge as some sort of figurative gesture, it may perhaps seem to 'reach fo something' because of its unconscious resemblance to a figure doing the reaching and so, of course, the principle can work backwards.
However, the quoted sentence needs clarifying. Surely an 'out of balance' theme must still be 'in balance' aesthetically in order to deliver its message as a 'whole' self contained unit - the very definition of a successful piece.
nice little discussion.. chris, i saw this one before but for the life of me can't remember where. care to scratch my itch and tell me who's it is?
Sorry tensai, I meant to answer your question during a response to Kev and then got so involved that it slipped my mind.
The artist is Raimonds Staprands, living on the west coast of America in the region that Richard Diebenkorn made famous with the Ocean Park paintings. He is also a playwrite.
He also painted the oranges picture below the chair picture. Kev's take on the oranges picture is an interesting assessment of Stapran's character based on an honest, direct response to what was before his eyes - as far as I can tell he is not too far off the mark. There is a pretty good monograph of his work called 'Art of Tranquility and Turbulence' which you can still get hold of through Amazon.
I'm glad you are enjoying the discussion. Here are some more of his works for you: Attachment 318275
Kanevsky's process shots show a lot of random draws that get shuffled back into the deck. He seems to be doing what Orson Welles said he did as a movie director "Presiding over accidents."
I like that first sentence A LOT! Terrific insight expressed with the suavest of suave analogies!
I guess what I'm thinking about here is the distinction between those elements of the compositional construction that as you discover them and put them together you 'learn by heart' so to speak and those things that are 'unconscious' and unrepeatable. I suppose you could see it as the distinction between the composition and its 'performance' - the energising 'look of suprise' that a discovery made on the wing can only have.
The difference between a professional and an amateur is that the former will not let chance be there unless it is challenged. If it passes the test of 'does this ally itself with my intent?' then it stays. The amateur is always seduced by chance since it appears to flatter their limitations. (Hence the tired old mantra of the adult education pupils "I don't want it to loose it's freshness" - nothing makes me want to kick them up the arse (that's 'ass' to Kev!) more than this lame, half baked lack of enquiry.
Anyway, we can move over to the Kanevsky or would you like us to stay with the Staprans a bit?
Last edited by Chris Bennett; March 5th, 2008 at 09:11 PM.
Kev, those little diagrams illustrating various compositional tatics you are doing ought to go into a little pocket book and be numbered - "Got a job here about a jealous wife pushing her husband off a clifftop, I think I'll give 3, and 12 combined with 28b a go, could get me over the first hurdle or give me something to bite on at the very least!".
Oh, by the way, I'm very flattered that you thought the little guy with the bowler hat was painted by me - it was painted by my teacher, Euan Uglow, whose work we discussed earlier in this thread. The picture is entitled 'Flower Man' since it is a plastic promotional item produced by a maker of flower in England called 'Home Pride' - there were cartoon commercials involving these little men in black suits getting covered in flower etc etc. Anyway, the pun in the title of course refers to the little buisness guy with bowler hat being the polar opposite to a hippie. Interesting how you picked up on the smile - the original is very haunting in this regard with the abstract curve reading as a flat event on the surface of the canvas, then a black smilie painted on the flower man himself seen in space and then as something alluding to a real smile, all seen as passing successions on a carousel. Also reminds me of 'the grin without the cat' described in 'Alice in Wonderland'.
OK, I think I'll start digging into Alex Kanevsky's Adventures in Serendipity....
Last edited by Chris Bennett; March 5th, 2008 at 09:09 PM.
do you have a challenge to "every silhouette is a character in the drama, and all silhouettes that are not should be muted?" or are you still pondering that?
That is, I think largely true for most pictures but off the cuff I can think of some notable exceptions. Turner springs to mind, all those vortexes buffeting the silhouettes of sails. A more extreme example, Constable - the dewy air seems such a strong presence without having a classic 'identity' as an element of design. Dewing seemed to be drawing his figures out of a 'ghost world' that seems to be an equal character, just as 'present' as the figures. I guess the cube of tinted steam they exist in could be thought of as the silhouette of the canvas itself....but that is not quite it somehow....maybe...
One thought, there is presumably a distintion between the tension pin and the silhouette as achievers of narrative interest points.
It certainly needs a little more going into since I think the Turner example needs to be addressed. Attachment 318768
Marvelous takes on the Guthrie and Palencar Kev. I understand everything you are saying about them but I still not getting the 'mechanics' of how the tension pin works. I am reading them as very insightful observations on how things are working much in the same way we have been doing right at the start with the Waterhouse and Brangwyn and everything from then on.
Fascinating photographs of the Frazetta show. You are right; those Baroque swept frames are bloody awful!
The subtlest distinction possible is the one right next door to generality. So the subtler we become the more we approach the universal and the further we move away from the particular - and the more possibilities are contained in our distinctions to the point of complete universality containing all things. On the other hand, the tightest distinction is right next door to dogma.
Drawing the subtlest distinction:
In the visual arts this expresses itself as the generalising, hazy, formless cloud typified by late Turner, Rothko. Pollock, late Monet, Whistler's extreme nocturnes, De Kooning and areas of the Dewing paintings and Burnie Fuchs. Interestingly the first three artists were associated with deep concerns for the transcendental.
Drawing the tightest distinction:
Again, the visual arts gives us 'The Diagram' and nearest to this region is much of what we think of as cartoon. The artists that come nearest to this would be people like Euan Uglow, Paul Klee, Bridget Riley, Walt Disney, Roy Lichtenstien and those painters nearest to photorealism and of course photography itself. Most of them very pragmatic souls, I think you would agree.
The extremes - the formless universal cloud and the diagram - is where the fertile forest of metaphor peters out and and opens out to the two deserts of generality and dogma.
So what guides us when we back off from these two extremes and walk about the forest? Where do we find the trees that yeald the best fruits for our particular digestion, the point on the line between generality on one hand and Dogma on the other?
You need a 'what' compass.
It can be given to you (the commission). or,
you have to find it yourself (sitting in the studio wondering what to paint).
When you know which way 'what' points, then you will come to the right place in the forest and the fruits that grow there are called 'how'. And if you are really true to your nose as well, you will find no one else there before you.
I dont know how many others have followed this discussion, but it is currently my favorite bed time reading.
i some time wonder though if the minut analysis takes some of the joy out of "doing" it is fascinating to see these things deconstructed, but I often think the analysis goes way beyond what the artist ever intended or thought
How many artists subject their work to this kind of scrutiny. I think the turners are the way they partly for the joy of moving the paint around and trying to capture a moment.
oh and chris... the front valkyrie has a funny nose
anyway... its a bit like "My dinner with andre"..... nothing happens but Im riveted none the less
thankyou both fo rhaving this discussion out where we can all learn from it
To see the world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.