Painting Today: Commentary on Chapter 5: Pure Abstraction


     Pure Abstraction is slightly less broad then the single word Abstraction, and yet it encompasses many levels of visual constructs through surface, materials, and process. Chapter 5 in Painting Today, coins this term for abstract work that explores the physical tendencies of paint along with a less expected idea, one which critics of the late 60’s never mentioned; that transcendence could be reached through the process of pure abstraction. Abstraction and non-objective art has long been underpinned with the cold and finite concerns of formalism. Color is not used simply for the sake of color, but as a vehicle for emotional connection for both the artist in creation and the viewer; the experience in front of a painting. Artist Joseph Marioni, describes his connection through the creative process: “Transcendence is, for me, the engagement of the body. It is spiritual experience…”

     Artist Sean Scully speaks of art-making as “a reaction against perfection…making realities that were much more humanistic…” His words about how paintings express the “pathos of relationships” really resonate with me. In writings about my own work, I relate physical manipulations of canvas, paint application and stitching as relationships of parts to a whole; everything is a compilation of fragments, gathered and re-arranged in our mind, then gathered and re-arranged yet again in the physical manifestation of art. Even realism is a manifestation of thoughts, appearing to be ‘real’ or ‘truthful’ as our eyes percieve. “You get to the spirit through the physical, or through the sensual, or through being in the world.”

All content sighted is derived from Painting Today by Tony Godfrey, PHAIDON


By klcloonan

Los Angeles Interdisciplinary Artist

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