ultra-abstraction in painting and drawing / Peter Ganick. 2015

UA is the taking-to-the-extreme of any of conventional abstraction’s principles.

the first aspect is that an UA picture will have no reference to any representational-reality and will, therefore, be totally non-representational as a totality though representational objects like color, language, form, variation, and all possible combinations of these aspects can be included.

it is not a parlor game, though it can have rules—all meant to be provisional and non-binding.

ultra-abstraction is not conceptual art—the art is in-the-object, not in-the-idea-of-the-object.

like all quality art, it must satisfy a certain visual quality i’ll call temporarily ‘having-character’.

this ‘having-character’ is a quality of the picture or the object primarily—how an artist’s personal development courses through his/her life UA is ‘considered’ and without doubt, has the most carefully planned importance.

this pre-planning is not from the beginning of the exemplar’s existence.

the best way to talk of this pre-planning is: choosing the parameters of the piece, namely the tools to be used—perhaps that would be enough.

if we’re talking of a painting, perhaps a palette to be used, a type of ground, a means to apply color, and any other means the artist deems important, for instance, some music to enhance creativity—anything to make the artist feel painterly.

compositional aspects are in ‘free-flow’—there is no ‘one [or many] true’ compositional form[s] that will be guaranteed to work successfully in the making of this art-form.

in some manner, UA, like the quality that makes any art-piece ‘of-quality’, cannot be taught.

unlike developing talent by ‘practice’, the sort of experimental aspect that comes into play in UA is more of a poetic, irrational quality.

‘free-flow’ in this case means, considering compositions as structures, any structure can be considered to have this ‘of-character’ quality, but how that is determined is of the utmost importance.

chaos is not UA, which has some intentional-inner-structure that is recognizable.

by ‘taking to the extreme’ and ‘poetic irrationality’ is meant the unplanned, accidental, surprise occurrence that can come up in a painting.]

these, most definitely, as not ‘errors’—rather are opportunities-for-changing-direction-in-the-painting’s-midstream, so to speak.

a simpler way would be to encourage on-the-spot-improvisation.

this is and has been all along the touch-stone of jazz-music.

one must be open to ’the moment’— in this case the pictorial/compositional moment.

so, throw away ideas of ‘balance’ as a sure-fire way to enhance a picture; but keep aware of color-values, so dark-medium and light work together in a new way.

what i mean when i wrote earlier of ‘poetic irrationality’ as a thought to have in-the-back-of-the-artist’s-mind when creating is probably the best way describe UA is free-flow composition with the spontaneous improvisational aspect of utmost importance—or—if it’s different that what’s been seen before, it is worth considering—not necessarily ‘of-character’ but worth considering.

the poet, ezra pound, told poets to ‘make it new’ while some wise people would say, ‘there’s nothing new under the sun’—  i do not claim to have an answer to the discussion but think it’s valuable to consider it.

tomorrow: “disfiguring abstraction” _ charles bernstein readings @ the moma _ ny

April 3 at 12:30 p.m. Charles Bernstein reads Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven, the Russian Futurists, Marsden Hartley, Francis Picabia, Vasily Kandinsky, Kurt Schwitters, Guillaume Apollinaire, F. T. Marinetti, and his own work, in Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925


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