Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Colliding Orbs," My New Abstract Expressionist Painting

This is my latest acrylic painting. It's 24 x 36 inches, and titled "Colliding Orbs." I was going to call it "A Stitch in Time" because it reminded me of agitated clocks and a vision of time run amuck, which might have been a more fitting title when considering the chaos in our world. What do you think?

When I paint, I'm after the physical, kinesthetic experience of moving around a surface and applying pigment to it, and watching what evolves. It's like a mad dance or ritual color-celebration, in which I pursue a new visual experience. I'm not trying to replicate anything from our everyday world, but rather, to immerse myself in a novel sensory experience that will yield an equally unpredictable product with its own life and totality. It's this evolving and dynamic process of finding color, composition, and form in new arrangements, that gives me excitement and makes my days interesting.

Wikipedia defines Abstract Expressionism as:

Abstract expressionism was an American post–World War II art movement. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve worldwide influence and also the one that put New York City at the center of the art world, a role formerly filled by Paris. Although the term "abstract expressionism" was first applied to American art in 1946 by the art critic Robert Coates, it had been first used in Germany in 1919 in the magazine Der Sturm, regarding German Expressionism. In the USA, Alfred Barr was the first to use this term in 1929 in relation to works by Wassily Kandinsky.[1]

Technically, an important predecessor is
surrealism, with its emphasis on spontaneous, automatic or subconscious creation. Jackson Pollock's dripping paint onto a canvas laid on the floor is a technique that has its roots in the work of Max Ernst. Another important early manifestation of what came to be abstract expressionism is the work of American Northwest artist Mark Tobey, especially his "white writing" canvases, which, though generally not large in scale, anticipate the "all over" look of Pollock's drip paintings.

The movement's name is derived from the combination of the emotional intensity and self-denial of the German Expressionists with the anti-figurative aesthetic of the European abstract schools such as Futurism, the Bauhaus and Synthetic Cubism. Additionally, it has an image of being rebellious, anarchic, highly idiosyncratic and, some feel, rather nihilistic.[2] In practice, the term is applied to any number of artists working (mostly) in New York who had quite different styles, and even applied to work which is not especially abstract nor expressionist. Pollock's energetic "action paintings", with their "busy" feel are different, both technically and aesthetically, to the violent and grotesque Women series of Willem de Kooning (which are figurative paintings) and to the rectangles of color in Mark Rothko's Color Field paintings (which is not what would usually be called expressionist and which Rothko denied was abstract), yet all three are classified as abstract expressionists.

Abstract expressionism has many stylistic similarities to the Russian artists of the early twentieth century such as
Wassily Kandinsky. Although it is true that spontaneity or the impression of spontaneity characterized many of the abstract expressionists works, most of these paintings involved careful planning, especially since their large size demanded it. With artists like Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Emma Kunz, and later on Rothko, Barnett Newman and Agnes Martin, abstract art clearly implied expression of ideas concerning the spiritual, the unconscious and the mind.[3]

I'm one of those people who finds fascination in the spiritual and subconscious aspects of art-making. I paint for the love of it, and I try to leave the critical adult behind me in favor of joy. For me, the joy of painting evokes the childhood happiness of free expression, exploration, and spontaneity. It provides the stimulation and excitement of a unique experience. In this case, THE VISUAL EXPERIENCE. I have capitalized this phrase because it so succinctly defines my goal and describes the gratification I feel in the process of putting pigment on canvas.

How do you feel about Abstract Expressionism or about abstract art in general? Does it excite your eye and resonate for you? Who are your favorite artists, abstract or otherwise?

Detail of "Colliding Orbs - Image c Lynda Lehmann

Image and text c Lynda Lehmann. If you would like to view more of my art or make a purchase, please visit Lynda Lehmann Painting and Photography or my gallery at Imagekind, where you can choose from several sizes and paper types or buy my prints plain or matted and framed. >

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  1. Hi Lynda - it reminds me of a party, with the swirly ribbons that get tossed into the air - from a bird's eye view. The colors are beautiful!

  2. Kathy, thanks. I mixed all the colors from one tube each of red, cerulean blue, and yellow, and I only added the violet and white at the end. It's really amazing how many hues one can mix from the primaries!

  3. Hello Lynda! Happy New Year! Your painting caught my eye on Facebook so I came back for a closer look. I love the energetic movement and there is a certain order in the chaotic shapes. Love the colour combinations too! Sante! Rusty!

  4. Superb !!!
    I love your work, your atmosphere and your colors!

  5. Wow, that is a lovely picture-reminds me of my big ol appy spots for some reason

  6. Rusty, thank you! As I told you on FB, I discovered on your profile, our common interest in writing!

    It's great to hear from you--thanks for stopping by!

  7. PIERRE - Thank you for your kind words!

    CACTUS JACK SPLASH - Thank you and have yourself a happy weekend!

  8. Lynda excellent, I see clocks too. You asked how we feel about Abstract Expressionism? Well, I like it, it ads mystery, and it can mean many things depending how we look at it, and expression of freedom...Lynda you know I really like your work, your expressions are unique. Anna :)

  9. Hi Lynda - this is a very interesting and dynamic painting. Funnily I have a completely different connotation when I look at it - instead of clocks this reminds me very much of a coral reef when the corals are sperming.
    Greetings, Petra

  10. ANNA - You make a good point, about the mystery. I love the ambiguity of abstract because it leaves interpretation open too the mind of the viewer, and it leaves room for multiple ideas and perspectives, maybe even within the same viewer. To me it conveys more excitement than a literal, realistic subject.

    Thank you for stopping by. Kisses to baby Matthew!

  11. PETRA - I didn't know corals did that, lol! Do you mean they actually reproduce by sperming in the water?

    Have you studied marine biology?

  12. I love all kinds of paintings. This is lovely Lynda. I find it very earthy, in fact, powerfully earthy. What is interesting to me is that even though it has all the movement, for me, it is VERY grounding. I actually felt anchored to Earth in a most wonderful way. Like when I climb a high mt. trail here in summer and there is this little glen that is full of patches of red-brown earth, green grass, purple lupine and poderosa pines with their brown trunks and deep green branches and then overhead are wisps of clouds and blue sky. I immediately thought of that glen when I saw this. I know that may sound odd but it's what came to mind. And somehow the large purple/blue circles reminded me of Earth's roundness. You're probably laughing right now... :) :) Anyway, I find it a dramatic and powerful painting. And your images in the previous post are just out of this world. Again: You are elegance personified. Just beautiful...everything you touch and do turns to grace and beauty. Hugs, Robin :)

  13. Robin, thank you for the incisive and sharing comment! This is exactly what abstract art should do: evoke different reactions in different people and maybe even strike a deeper chord. I know what you mean by views of the earth from heights where the colors and contours of the land all merge into a gigantic, undulating field of endless, breathing, beautiful life forms.

    Since my love for nature is what keeps me happy and grounded, no matter how abstract I get, I feel that nature is always "in there," at the center of my passion.

    Happy New Year, Robin. I'll be over to visit, my eloquent friend....


  14. I like the kinetic energy of this one. I think "A Stitch in Time" works better, for reasons you've mentioned.
    I like all different kinds of art, but one of my faves is John William Waterhouse. I couldn't pick just one of his as my favorite. Too many are great!

  15. Lana, I think I'll change the name of this painting, on my sites. It was my first impulse to call it that, so thanks for your input on this!

    I don't know Waterhouse--I'll have to look him up. I'll let you know how I like his work.

    Happy New Year, Lana!

  16. Hi Lynda, what a joy to discover your blog today after you stopped by for a virtual visit to Boise, ID. Yes, I love abstract art, and happen to live next door to an artist with similar talents. I have three of his pieces hanging in my house and hope to acquire more. This piece of yours looks like time bubbles to me. Love it!

  17. Boise Diva, time bubbles or clock bubbles. That's the fun of it! I'm glad you like abstract art and collect your neighbor's work.

    I'll be visiting you again. Thanks for coming over!

  18. Oh my gosh, I don't think I've ever seen your work. Sorry....I've missed out on a lot. Trust me I will reform myself. you are very very talented Lynda. Your photographs are incredible, and I love love the color and shapes in your abstract pieces. Wow! They look like lampwork beads creatively arranged throughout! They sparkle! Good job!

  19. VERONICA - I'm so glad you came by! Thanks for your kind words. Come back again soon!

    I'll be right over to see what fascinating new pieces you've come up with.

  20. VirusHead - Thank you very much! Glad you like it. A friend recently said this reminds her of looking down into paint buckets--dripped on, of course!

  21. Excellent composition and color all circles. It is a pretty abstract language, a hug.

  22. Leovi, thank you for your support and enthusiasm!


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