Friday, March 27, 2009

Title: " March 27, 2009 #2 "
Acrylic on Matboard
5 x 5 inches


CAP said...

It's an interesting progression on this page (bottom to top) from broad, planar gestures to more dispersed and linear ones, then to increasing layers or depth.

All still pretty small.

Quite apart from the color issues, I find it interesting how qualities of paint consistency and application very quickly come to the fore. There is no size or colour scheme that escapes these other properties - no default setting for 'texture' or 'line'.

Where does the formalist look for structure when the basis seems multiple and contingent?

Cross said...

CAP --

Part of the attractiveness of working on these mico-scale things is that it throws you face-to-face with just that issue. It is something that Elizabeth Murray dealt with by warping her canvases outward, and that Frank Stella sidestepped in his painting when he began making wall mounted sculpture and calling them "paintings". But they were working large scale. In an attempt to enhance or avoid, respectively, illusionist "depth" they settled for actual physical depth.

My problem is I have always struggled with that question, even when looking at more traditional styles of painting. When a brushstroke casts a shadow upon itself, the physicality trumps hue, value, line: the shadow is real, the paint depth is obvious, and although somewhat dependent upon the scale of the work, it is there.

So, I'm taking these little works down to sub-Greenbergian scale, and pondering how to let paint be paint and sculpture be sculpture, when that breaks down at these extremes. The black calligraphy ones become maps of the colorful ones, and the white textured ones make shadows which become the physical manifestations of the calligraphy...

...And the structure? I think it's in the body of the work. Somewhere.

CAP said...

Well the size or scale has unquestionably become key to structure (as it does for Stella, Murray et al). Although you may have a harder time winning over a public.

I'm also curious about the high key to the color scheme, or do the JPEGS mislead here?

Cross said...

The color is pretty accurate in the JPEGS, at least on my screens. It is intense, especially compared to the white-ish ones in the same group.

I've set up a battle here between color and non-color. And for that, I need the extremes. It does no good to overpaint with white, unless the color is really intense enough to "scream" when it is covered over... and that makes the serenity of the white that much more "pure", the victory of the sublime over the angst that much sweeter.