Abstraction Contra Materialism

In a previous post, I talked about mark-making as a primal part of human development in relation to my  work.  By mark-making in this context I mean specifically hand-made marks, made directly by the hand, not the marked remnants of mechanical and machine processes, which are also, specifically human.

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Erik Reel, 1424, pencil drawing on paper

Perhaps because of this, some observers have interpreted my work as a “critique of the machine-made, of technology, of the manufactured,” and a re-affirmation of a more fundamental, personal realm of experience, even a critique of the materialism born by our manufactured, industrial, highly materialistic, world.

Not only have deep thinkers of  monotheistic religions suspected there were dangers and problems with a direct representation of physical reality in works of art. Kandinsky, Tobey, and Rothko and others have pointed out that their eventual adoption of non-representational painting had some basis in a repudiation of not just the the material world, but Materialism itself.

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Erik ReeL, Technicolor Tobey, acrlyic on canvas

It would be natural, and correct,  to assume that my work is a critique of materialism as well. That is, Materialism as the philosophical position, almost assumed without dissent today, which gives primacy to the material world, over against more human, psychic, and ethical values.

 

 

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