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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Is a Consistently Red Color Field High Art?

In reviewing some more magazines that I'm going through, once again I have to wonder if the art critics and "experts" are on drugs or just get a good laugh from what they claim is "art" and the masses blindly follow along collectively 'oohing' and 'ahhhing' over.  Sometimes, I just think "they" (including, perhaps, the artists) are just playing with "us" (the unsuspecting masses of hysterics.) 

(c) SZing "Pathways" Abstract Expressionism and Color Field work in fused glass
by Stephanie Zing, used by permission of the artist

Now, I like to be as open minded as I possibly can and I truly do not want to diss any artists or their creativity. That said, there are some artworks that garner high praise and I think to myself, 'maybe I just don't get it."  One such piece that flummoxes me is Barnett Newman's "Onement II" from 1948.  He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters. 

Personally, Joan Miro, Richard Diebenkorn, Henri Matisse, Mark Rothko, and Paul Klee are all some of my favorite abstract expressionist artists who worked as color field painters.  I, myself, at times, work as a color field painter and prefer abstract expressionism both in painting and glasswork (see photos in this posting). 

Perhaps it is simply a matter of personal subjective taste because Mr. Newman's works seem to be highly regarded--although personally, more than one of them simply reminds me of a "flag" and I wonder whether these works if presented today would be as well-received.  I get that the consistency of the red color field is a part of the "color field" painters goal. 

This particular painting apparently belongs to or is shown at the Contemporary Jewish Museum of San Francisco and perhaps I should a) visit the museum and see the piece in person, or b) read up to see if there is additional information about this piece.  It is a 60" x 36" canvas painted with a reddish/orange oil paint over the entirety of the panel with what appears to be some barely distinguishable dark lines behind the red paint.  That's the entire painting. 

Maybe there is a third option.  c)  the painting does not photograph or translate well in a glossy paged magazine when the image is shrunk down to a 4" x 2 1/2" picture.  Maybe, in fact there are more options.  Like my own open mindedness and willingness to embrace all artworks. 

I am hoping that all three of these scenarios are the case because frankly, when I read the magazine praising this piece of artwork, I scratch my head and say, "really??!!"  If time and resources were no obstacle, I most certainly would hoof my butt out there to San Fran and decide for myself.  That not currently being an option, I have to take what I get in the magazine (and online) and decide for myself. Maybe I'm just having artist envy and wondering how to get my stuff seen and praised better.

(c) SZing "Exploring Spaces" Abstract Expressionism and Color Field work in fused glass
by Stephanie Zing, used by permission of the artist

Since I do not have permission to post the pictures of Mr. Newman's works, I instead refer you to the Internet image searches of his art.  Decide for yourself.  I'm interested in opinions on the subject of critics and experts, as well as abstract expressionism and color field paintings.  What do you think??