Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Abstract Painting: Pragmatic Red

Pragmatic Red - c 2011 Lynda Lehmann

The other day I set out to do a subtle painting. As you can see, I failed miserably.

When I paint, what happens most often is that the paint takes over and tells me what to do. Not literally, of course. The paint doesn't have a voice. But it speaks to me through it's character as it emerges out of the tube. Color, consistency, and (unfortunately) smell, all stir my senses into an excitement as real as if I were watching a horse race or awakening as a child does on Christmas morning, heart aflutter and with a gleam of happy expectation in her eyes. I begin to paint and the volitional part of the process gives way to the subconscious, intuitive part.

So here you have my most recent result, in this 18 x 24 inch acrylic painting that I'll call "Pragmatic Red."  The title is a bit of an oxymoron, as there's really nothing practical about creating such a bright and intense painting. It's done for the joy and fulfillment of the artist and for whomever is willing as a viewer, to embrace his or her kind of work.

An intricate under-painting shows through the surface, a sort of "iconography" showing through the top layer. An artist friend said the image reminds him of a "mother board."  I'll go with that for today. That's the nice part about abstract art: you can see something different in it each time you look. Different from realism, in which the specifics of time, place and context are spelled out for the viewer, the abstract engages the viewer's imagination and calls forth a more active participation. What might this painting represent, if anything? Or is it a visual experience that can't be classified?

Actually, it's simply "The Visual Experience" that I'm after in my pursuit of painting. As long as it's fresh and new, it can bring stimulation, surprise, and visual joy to my world. defines Constructivism as follows: 

–noun ( sometimes initial capital letter )
1.Fine Arts . a nonrepresentational style of art developed by agroup of Russian artists principally in the early 20th century,characterized chiefly by a severely formal organization of mass, volume, and space, and by the employment of modern industrial materials. Compare suprematism.

While I often paint in a style that might fall under the category of Expressionism, I would say that this piece could be seen as a sort of embellished Constructivism. But the label doesn't matter. It's the Visual Experience that counts!

Most of us enjoyed looking through kaleidoscopes of different sorts when we were kids. To me, painting is the same kind of exploration of the visual phenomenon. I do it in the spirit of adventure--and the willful abandonment of the more mundane aspects of my daily world.

What attracts your eye in the spirit of exploration and childlike joy?

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