Ad Reinhardt Abstract Painting 19601965 Essay Research — страница 3

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paintings seem to be nothing more than shapes of color. Many viewers of Reinhardt’s paintings, even today, will blurt out a harsh comment in passing through the museum’s contemporary wing. They’re not sure if they should stare at the canvas or the floor, or keep walking. When Reinhardt was working on these geometric paintings, gestural abstraction was going in full force. Artists like De Kooning, Raushenburg, Pollack and Johns were all working in the abstract expression. The New York School of painting was at its prime. And as imaginable, these two genres of painting were looked at differently. Some favored gestural and others went towards the geometric abstractions. There was definitely some influence on both sides. Within the artists world at that time, there was much

controversy. In Abstraction: Geometry: Painting, Reinhardt’s position in the New York scene as a geometric painter is brought to light with a remark by Morton Feldmen, a composer who was involved with the New York painters. “The scene was not as it appeared, at least in the press. The party line was that these guys were like a fraternity of gorillas with paint-filled squirt guns. It was a lot more considered and not as “expressionist” as it might appear. Barney [Newman] wasn’t flinging any paint for Christ’s sake. He was tight, very considered, essentially geometric. He’d roll over in his grave if he heard me say that. He thought of himself as an expressionist, but I think for strategic reasons. The press was more interested in and could make more hay with the

expressionist angle. That?s just politics, right? He was an expressionist, but of a different kind. Reinhardt was different but in a different way (Abstraction: Geometry: Painting).” In the researching of Ad Reinhardt’s work, I found that his work could also be looked at in a spiritual context, although Reinhardt would have never admitted that. Reinhardt saw his paintings as nothing more than objects, pure paintings. In the book, The Spiritual in Art, Abstract Painting 1890-1985, Allen Watts looks at the way a viewer could possibly perceive a black Reinhardt in relation to that of Zen thought and meditation. “What is form that is emptiness, what is emptiness that is form?To study a black painting by Ad Reinhardt involves a process similar to Zen meditation -a deceptively

similar affair that consists only in watching everything that is happening, including your own thoughts and your breathing. Granting one’s vision sufficient time to perceive the resonant hues and shapes in a painting by Reinhardt is equivalent to the assumption of a meditative position. Then the painting seems to yield its essence all at once? (The Spiritual in Art, Abstract Painting 1890-1985).” It is possible that Reinhardt saw his work in this manner but chooses not to speak of it. I doubt that the “average” viewer would take Zen into consideration when looking at Reinhardt’s work. Although it could be the way in which the work was made. Ad Reinhardt may have felt a deep connection spiritually to his work. Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman as well as many other painters

welcomed the spiritual into their paintings. In some cases, especially with Rothko, the spiritual was the driving force behind the painting. In Reinhardt’s case, it seems that the simple geometry and bareness of the painting is all that matters. Reinhardt released his paintings into the world as nothing. He expected no more. The rest is up to the audience to figure out, spiritual or not. Bibliography Auping, Michael: Abstraction: Geometry: Painting: Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1989 Daval, Jean-Luc: History of Abstract Painting: Hazan, Paris, 1989 Gordon, Louis and Allan: American Chronicles, Six Decades of American Life, 1920-1980.pp.382-435. Atheneum, New York. 1987. LACMA: The Spiritual In Art, Abstract Painting 1890-1985: Aberville Press Pub.,

1986 Stiles/Selz: Theroies and Documents of Contemporary Art, a sourcebok of artists Writings. Pp.86-91 University of California Press. 1996.