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Re: Mondrian and Abstraction

Dec 16, 1997 01:06 AM
by Thoa Thi-Kim Tran

>Keith:  I don't want to appear hostile because I visited your home page and
>like a lot of POST-modern work but I think it is time that we admit that if
>the emperor isn't totally nude, at least his fly is open!
>I mean this whole idea that one is a co-creator with an empty or horribly
>messy canvas a la Jackson Pollock may be provocative of a certain type of
>meditative state, but it depends of what one brings to it, doesn't it?  I
>mean Da Vinici could have seen worlds in a Rosarch test, while most would
>see just ink blots.

Perception of anything depends on one's knowledge and experience.  I'm
reading an old book analyzing the drawing of trees.  The author went at
length detailing the quality of the drawings between various early
landscape artists, J.M.W. Turner, Corot, etc.  The author also put down the
Impressionists for their depiction of trees, saying that it is an
abstraction and not a faithful rendition.  Since I was trained in modern
art, the early landscapes (Turner, Corot, etc.) all look very similar.  In
fact, when I'm in a museum, I usually walk by these paintings very quickly,
thinking I've seen all there is to see, just trees.  Meanwhile, a Monet
will just mesmerize me.

The best way to do a piece of art work justice is to try to get into the
mind of the artist, to try to understand.  Otherwise, one is really in no
position to judge.  For example, I did not quite understand the intuitive
process of Pollock until I saw someone trying to imitate him at an art
fair.  The imitation was absolutely awful.  The difference is suble but
obvious.  I sense the difference more through my intuition than through my

>I think the post-modern movement back to neo-classical ehoes in art an
>architecture with a lot of humor thrown in, is a very health reaction to the
>dead end of giant ash trayes and sliced embalmed cows that are or were
>recently exhibited in one of England' most  prestigious galleries to the
>chagrin (and some resignations) of some art scholars-  see 60 MINUTES tv
>essay on this.

I saw the 60 minutes program.  I would agree with some judgment only
because I was ignorant of those works.  The works that I understood the
reason for the result, I disagreed with 60 Minutes.  In the sliced embalmed
cows, I think you were referring to the clothing of flank steak that was
allowed to become putrid.  Opposition to using meat aside, can you not see
that the artist was trying to bring you the visceral experience of decaying
meat and temporary flesh, and connotations associated with that.  It's
strange seeing the inside flesh covering the outside flesh.  I saw it in a
museum, and it definitely left an impression.

As an example of ignorance and knowledge in perception, before I knew about
t/Theosophy, I thought theosophists were all kooks who think they are
psychic, astrologists, etc.  Well, now that I know more about t/Theosophy,
it's true. :o)  But I realize it's only true in some cases and I also
discovered the underlying spiritualism behind them.  I laugh now at how I
used to be afraid of the metaphysical.

I could go in more detail about art, etc., but I have to prepare for an exam.

Thoa :o)

P.S.  Eiichi, it will take a whole lot more picking of my brain cells to
respond to your post.  I'm saving it for a time when I can give it
undivided attention.

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