Just as I’ve gravitated to the use of heavy filtering and blending modes to move further into color abstraction, I’m pulled to those same techniques in noir work, albeit with more subtilty. I submit that today’s work is just as ‘abstract’ as one of my color works, say Picking Vegetables. Instead of flowing gradients of color, here I’m using defined straight lines and high contrast. Both are highly stylized variations on what the eye sees, and both can juxtapose reality and fantasy along a continuum as subjective as the mind the eye is tied to.
What I’m even more recently coming to, as in Stardust or Scrutiny, is the effect of combining the two, the color with the noir.
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I’ve had the pleasure of late to be reading a wonderful new biography of Andy Warhol by the arts editor and critic Blake Gopnik. Spanning a thousand or so pages, it’s is superbly written and researched, with almost every paragraph properly attributed to established sources. I’m struck by a number of aspects of Warhol’s career, the first being his use of technology, even mechanical processes in his art, namely silk screen, blotted ink, and his use of photographs as a base for developing art. Please forgive my presumptions in drawing a link from it to photo art. Another presumption: As Pop Art dawned, Warhol likened it to recognizing the ordinary things around us, and here I’ve been advocating “the art of ordinary things”. Again, please forgive my assumption of a parallel. Gopnik’s extensive attributions also point out rather glaring inconsistencies to the Warhol narrative – as the artist’s self-generated persona asserted itself Warhol seemed to tell different people different things, as though he were packaging his message depending on who he was talking to. Gopnik offers context differentiating the realistic from the absurd, but I still get the feeling Warhol not only prefaced modern celebrity he prefaced modern politics in all its dysfunction.
If I’ve a skepticism of Gopnik’s writing it would be his contention that Warhol’s art was intrinsic to his sexuality, as opposed simply to his sexuality contributing to his art, and I’m just not sure I buy that. He seems to be saying Warhol was a homosexual first and then an artist. Was Picasso a philander first and an artist second? See the distinction? Finally, and this depresses me a little, it’s clear that success in art is substantially being in the right place at the right time, that right place firmly being New York. And not in some sedate, rural, ordinary Midwestern town. At least, not yet.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.