Friday, 25 March 2016

Quote by Amédée Ozenfant

"Accustomed to judge painting by what it imitated, the public vociferated or split its sides, in front of canvases in which it could recognize nothing : wonderful discussions took place in the Press, and the most asinine views were exchanged. The astonished public was unable to recognise the extraordinary talent to which these surfaces, painting in so remarkably novel a manner, bore witness : or that, solely as a result of form and colour in no wise representational, unprejudiced minds could derive very real gratification from them".

I have been reading Ozenfant's Foundations of Modern Art on which I hope to include a brief discussion in my dissertation. Although I will be primarily looking at the images included in the text, he does nonetheless come up with these brilliant and wonderfully modern statements, which I can't help but smile at! Here is he talking about the reception of works by Cézanne, who he designates as the forefather of Cubism (which he also suggests could alternatively be called "Super-Cézannism"), Picasso, Braque, and Derain. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Generation Painting Symposium: Abstraction and British Art 1955-65

On March 5, I attended the Generation Painting Symposium at Downing College at the University of Cambridge where I was introduced to a lot of British abstract painters, some of which include: Richard Smith (presented by my PhD supervisor, Jo Applin), John Hoyland, Frank Auerbach, Prunella Clough and where I got to hear more about David Hockney and Bridget Riley.

Perhaps the individual artwork that struck me most was a collaboration done by Bridget Riley and Ad Reinhardt titled Poor.Old.Tired.Horse from 1966 (presented at the conference by Moran Sheleg, a UCL PhD candidate). This project consists of a set of pages whereby Riley illustrated a series of "0"s and Reinhardt, in his iconic calligraphic style, wrote poetry around them, which read quite similarly to his other manifesto-like writings. Each page declares a different composition, yet all of them partake in a somewhat chance-like abstraction, not only facilitated by Riley's 0s but also through the shapes that Reinhardt forms with his text, which must subsequently react and work around the existing 0s.