Swinging 3

Erik ReeL painting
Erik ReeL, #1275, acrylic on paper

In America as it came onto the edge of things, it did not take long for Tobey, then later Pollack and an entire generation or two [followed by another in Europe with Art Informal, Tapies, etc] to come up with an entirely new approach to abstraction. Approaches primarily centered on improvisation, an emphasis on scale, broadly brushed expressiveness, and a certain approach to materials and paint, process and gesture.

But once this abstract “expressionism” if you will is  seen as exhausted, a more pictorial means is sought, and used to subvert representation. Thus we see Pop emerge and pictorial tactics intended to critique media and advertising and other coercive modes of representational pictorial production.

But wait.

There’s more to be done, abstraction-wise.  After the pictorial retrenchment of Pop, we see a new generation of “format” abstraction, from Stella to Bridget Riley, where each “signature style” claims a very specific, rather small, highly constrained territory of format, technique, and idea.

This heralds a generation that sees the most ruthless reductivist tendencies since Malevich: All black paintings and minimalism exploiting both pictorial and constructive means of extreme visual reduction.

The 70s sees a matched triumph of an ancillary aggressively formalist art criticism emphasized in art magazines such as ArtForum.

From there things swing so far as Coplans  declaring the eternal triumph of photo-based, thus pictorial, imagery forever more, and the consequent rise of Flash Art magazine.

New endpoints. New subsequent diversion into pictorial means. And so it goes.

Erik ReeL painting
Erik ReeL, #1276, acrylic on paper

Resting Lightly on the Earth

1259
Erik ReeL, 1259, acrylic on canvas

I recently re-read Raphael Rubinstein’s  Provisional Painting Part 2: To Rest Lightly on Earth, from the February 2012 issue of Art in America.  This is, I feel, one of the best things written about painting in this century, so far.

I like it for not only what Professor Rubinstein says, but also for how he says it.  Its style and approach to  writing seem particularly appropriate for the topics discussed. Even the title is pitch perfect.

It is also an extremely helpful read for anyone interested in my art.

It is for this reason that I include it in my bibliography page, even though it is not explicitly about my painting, it reads as if it is, more so than most of the writing that is explicitly about my painting. What Rubinstein says is certainly applicable to my current  painting praxis and philosophy.

I encourage everyone interested in my art to read it.

Note also that it is part two to an earlier article,  Provisional Painting, published in the May 2009 issue of Art in America. The earlier article is a very different, but no less important piece.