University of San Diego hosts four fine art viewing galleries. I visited the only two open on my visit, which are located in Founders Hall and noted as the Hoehm Galleries,

University of San Diego Hoehm Galleries 

Posted by  Access the profile card for user: David Holmander

 David Holmander  at Friday, September 23, 2016 7:55:12 PM EDT
Last Edited:Friday, September 23, 2016 8:04:04 PM EDT

Museum Visit One

University of San Diego

First Semester


Dave Holmander

August 30, 2016

The University of San Diego hosts four fine art viewing galleries. I visited the only two open on my visit, which are located in Founders Hall and noted as the Hoehm Galleries, The first gallery show titled “American Art from the Pacific Northwest” and the second was the work of artist “Ruth Echstein, Topographies”

American Art from the Pacific Northwest 1860-1915. The first thing to interest me was how most of the artists had their roots in the eastern United States.

In my total visit, the first and most interesting work I saw was a full body charcoal sketch of Claude Monet 1890 by Theodore Robertson who he had earlier meet in Europe 1884 while there in study.

Also viewed the work of John la farce work Roses 1880 who is best know for his murals,

The work Rises 1876 watercolor by Hrelandenry Farrer, William Trost Richards untitled 1880. Winslow Homer Fly Fishing Saranac Lake 1889, two bronze relief’s’ by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Dublin Ireland and Mary Cassata of Philadelphia The Banjo Lesson 1893 dry point.

The second gallery with the work of Ruth Eckstein Topographical produced 24 mostly woodcut work. Since I am, also a printmaker I was particular intrigued by her work. Some of the prints included were Dark Cliff, Gateway to Memory, Cape Cod Summer, Kommos: the inner court and Kommos: the royal court II all dating the early 1970s. The single exception screen print Greek Island Greek Sun 1972 was also on display.


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  • Access the profile card for user: David Holmander David Holmander said…Friday, September 23, 2016 8:05:52 PM EDTI have 40 more images if u want me to post them
  • Access the profile card for user: Brian Bishop Brian Bishop said…Sunday, September 25, 2016 3:14:07 PM EDTNo, that is not necessary. This is perfect for what we want you to chronicle.

Art Since 1945, Journal entry 7, 2000-2010 by Dave Holmander

Journal #7 2000-2010

 David Holmander  at Tuesday, November 22, 2016 1:40:41 PM EST

Journal Entry 7

Art Since 1900 volume 2
Period 2000-2010 pp707 – 769

By Dave Holmander

How do we escape ourselves? The essence defies logic. In literary terms, it is rhetorically an oxymoron expression. Thus 2007 cite particular importance to avant-garde art in an exhibition at the Cite de la Musique , Paris showing the development of the work of American artist Christian Marclay over a period of time.  Marclay is not alone during this period but brings value to the discussion in referencing intentionality.

Clement Greenberg wrote in-depth about the implicit and explicit variant shades of grey creative intentionality encompasses contemporary artist while undergoing commodification of autonomy.

According to Jeanne Willette (Greenberg stated that art can “save” itself from being entertainment by demonstrating that the experience it provides is “unobtainable from any other source.” It is the task of art to demonstrate that which is “unique” and “irreducible”, particular or peculiar to art and that which determines the operation peculiar and exclusive to itself. All effects borrowed from any other medium must be eliminated, rendering the art form pure. “Purity” becomes a guarantee of “quality” and “independence” of avant-garde art. All extrinsic effects should be eliminated from painting.) 1.

Likewise, Greenberg draws this connection from the past to the presence when he says “I cannot insist enough that Modernism (define: Modernism as any art created by commentary artist {dh}) has never meant anything like a break with the past. It may mean a devolution, an unraveling of anterior tradition, but it also means its further evolution. Modernist art develops out of the past without gaps or break, and wherever it ends up, it will never stop being intelligible in terms of the past.” The implication means there is no autonym from foundation and originality. The artist, albeit the “workman” to use a Biblical metaphor build upon the foundation lain by another. Avant-garde will precede an uncharted direction but never alleviated of the past.  For example the avant-gardist is only such because there is prior art in which to distinguish.

Greenberg also makes distinction to “authentic self-reflexive” or “self critical”. He sees the avant-garde as one who test the work of art against its own logic and who acknowledges the history of a specific medium. Herein, he notes with distinction, a difference of self-criticism and that of the criticism of the Enlightenment.

Whereas, criticism of the Enlightenment came from the external review against outside standard, self-critiques in internalized by one own evaluation and perspective.

By the seventies three development were evident forcing a major shift in what constituted avant-garde. Rejection of single a medium, the “dematerialization” of aesthetic and advent of conceptualism. Therefore, as we see the work in being produces in the first decade of the 21st century all the element are in play for less implicit more explicit intentional avant-garde.

It is seen in the work of Christian Marclay recognized by Cite de la Musique and the incorruption of a new term “ post medium condition”.

A visual artist also musician brings mix medium and video to the installation with thematic appointments using synchronous sound and technical support.. Among the works on exhibition are Telephones, 1995 7 min 30 seconds video and Video Quartet 2002,  a four channel DVD projection with sound running 14 min depicting a variety instrumental performances one being cockroaches running over piano keys. To his credit but not discussed here is his performance work employing Power Point and investigative journalism and writing specifically. Additionally William Kentridge chooses animated film when he photographs charcoal drawings, then erases them in part photo shouting again until he has created a cinematic strip title Medicine Chest 2000.

In returning to South Africa his home Kentridge raises the aesthetic paradox of political art having ties to the African National Congress. Two issues relative to history and the moral imperative have been instrumental in his evolution as an artist. 
In some ways the influence of this period is summarized by Ana Mendieta when interview by RoseLee Goldberg 2004 saying “I want to work with reality. Not representation of reality. I don’t want my work to represent something. I want people not  to look at it but to be in it, sometimes without even knowing it is art”. This is a key to avant-garde,  we are art and that’s what matters.

 1.Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette and Art History Unstuffed.

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  • Access the profile card for user: Brian Bishop Brian Bishop said…Monday, November 28, 2016 12:32:56 PM ESTThat is an excellent quote by Mendieta to summarize this section, and the ideas you are grappling with. Bravo!

Art Since 1945, Journal entry 6 1990 -1999 by Dave Holmander

Journal Entry

 David Holmander  at Thursday, November 10, 2016 2:28:10 PM EST

Journal Entry #6
Dave Holmander

Art since 1900 Volume 2 from 1990 -1999 pp 668-703

The period sees the continual exportation and reinvention of modernist art and expansion of institutionary critiques outside the boundaries traditional museums. Clement Greenberg (1909-1994) is still active at it’s onset but has made a lasting contribution. In his Memoir, Morris Freedman sights of Greenberg.

I can sum up Clement Greenberg’s work only as an amateur, but allow me to quote Robert Hughes, Time’s art critic, who, I think, fairly crystallized the consensus of serious art historians and writers on art. He concluded his NYR essay: “No American art critic has produced a more imposing body of work: arrogant, clear, and forceful, a permanent rebuke to the jargon and obscurantism that bedeviled art criticism in his time and still does now. And it doesn’t just `impose’ — it invites argument, all the way.”  American Scholar, Autumn94, Vol. 63 Issue 4, p583. 8p.

The self-critical Greenberg also modernist painter saw advanced art as a sequence of investigations. This is evidenced in the counterintuitive “opticality”. Originally pioneered by Dada artist Hans Arp but embraced by Duchamp as illustrated in Rotorelief No. 6 1935 and later incorporated into motion picture film during the 1960’s  by the conflagration of lighting. In the 1980’s with a series of stills by Cindy Sherman, Untitled, #110, 1982.

When speak on the subject of opticality Jacinto Godinho mentions Greenberg reference to modernist abstractionism and the invisible structure of opticality in classic painting.  Opticality has long been present but was not defined as such. Godinho suggest it raised painting in particular to Olympic works of art. But required metaphysical support of words.

In Greenberg understanding, he saw this specifically expanded to sculpture but it is not difficult to understand younger generation now on scene going to new depth with this euphoria and using the articulation of Bataille, the concept of “formlessness“. Opticality; however, is intent to blur the form or create a limited focus without providing the specific form thus creating a limited shadowing forcing the visual observant to rely on memory for what the actual image might appear.

In the contemporary setting opticality has then evolved into more profound visual experience and away from visual autonomy. It is noted with the repetition of a rhythmic notion creating neural retention of the physic. As such in our app, drive social culture I would suggest “interactive art” though it may be static reasoning that the visual experience sets off phenomenon and strange bodily emotions due to the way light may be projected.
The experience leads to what is termed the uncanny “gaze”. Lacan wrote, “it becomes a stain”…”it becomes a picture, it is inscribed in the picture”  Thus against the back drop of the classical perspective it is an fragmentation of point of view rendering the unlocatable gaze bearing no meaning, coherency or unity.  The formlessness triggers an intense desire for form making the optics intriguing.
Greenberg influence is not limited to optic but in a continuum of exportation of new medium and expression. Most profoundly is the Canadian anthropologist Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media 1964 who theorization of culture suggesting medium is the message.  By example, the telephone extends the voice, the printing press circulates what is written (Gutenberg galaxy) Herein, McLuhan says, “The medium is the message’ and does not refer to modernism self critical analysis of an aesthetic medium-it’s self reflective “message”…Instead a condition of a given stage.” Simple put, the visual experience release a self imposing energy which itself become the art of the art.
Greenberg contribution to the period incorporates his intense desire to pursue new avenues of creativity and one again challenges the intuitions and conventions so intent to confine art within established boundaries but artist of the period concluded that the expanse of their imagination and the scope of all space is their museum.

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  • Access the profile card for user: Brian Bishop Brian Bishop said…Monday, November 14, 2016 9:28:43 AM ESTThis is a good connection between McLuhan and Greenberg. Yes, this was the period of time when Greenberg was being reconsidered and critiqued heavily in relation to institutional critique. Which I should note was growing due to the political climate in the 90s. Identity politics slowly gained ground in the mainstream artworld in reaction to the culture wars. This reinvigorated the debate about formalism and the anti-modern critique in general.

Art Since 1945, Journal entry 5, 1980 – 1989 by Dave Holmander

Journal Entry 5
Art Since 1900
Dave Holmander
October 28, 2016

Period 1980 – 1989

To the novice the question of photography as art may seam valid but steeps in ignorance. However, as this decade unfolds a burgeoning group of young artist set about to make there mark laden with a manifold of the latest offering that vanguard schools like California Institute of Art could instill.

With clearly defined strategies of Conceptual art and institutional critique these artist set sight in three distinct areas of investigation to exploit least of which is a new increased sophistication of feminism. Additionally, inquiry of sexuality in visual representation and the quantitative transformation of mass media.

It is here this group of endeavoring artist determined to move forward influenced at least in part on Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock’s contribution. Warhol however we should bring to our focus as this next generation of baby-boomers encounters their own collision with critique and the illusionary image of the spectacle which they determine to expose.

In this period of the 1980’s  Warhol re-emerges from a state of seclusion into the popular scene with critical and financial success. He is heavily criticized because his latter work is viewed poorly in the guise of monetary gains. It is the early Warhol whom these young artists identified with as being transformative especially in the area of photography.

Warhol hallmark in photograph was Conceptual art. Dating back to the sixties a key piece of photographic work was use of found photos originally pioneered by Robert Rauschenberg but latter embraced and exploited by Warhol. His work influences a reemergence in the context of a neo-avant-garde as a photo-conceptualism but given to production.

Specifically, in reference to the former readymade and geometric abstraction, and Minimalism the roots of Conceptual art is equally important as to understand the overriding paradigm. Conceptual art focuses on analytical propositions and linguistic definitions having a visual correlation to the image.

In his work Two Ball 50/50 Tank, 1985 by Jeff Koons  Warhol’s influence of Conceptual art once again is noted.  Here the pairing of the two balls in an aquarium tank filed with water with spatial distinction revealing use of Pop, Minimalism and readymade objects. The installation at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) in Boston exposes Koons to a like similar personally trail of Warhol, that of self promotion and the work itself a counterfeit for a genuine auratic art work by an inspired artist.

It is no secret that Warhol was gay. In his early public work at the 1964 World’s Fair when told to cover up his Thirteen Most Wanted Men he did so in his signature silver paint. Therefore, other gay artist would have a natural affinity to his influence.  Within this context a variant of feminism gay artist found new social constructions in subject to cultural and historical parameters.

Warhol influenced a generation including the East German Gerhard Richter.  Richter, a painter from mostly found photos after studying the work of Warhol and produced Atlas, 1962-8 from photos and news clippings.

Andy Warhol had made a larger than life contribution to American art. As an artist he is one I admire because I fell some connection and identiy to him and his work. I see him as multitasked and  one who was never afraid to stand out or try something new.

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  • Access the profile card for user: David Holmander David Holmander said…Friday, October 28, 2016 7:14:31 AM EDTCorrection to my first line “valid” should be “invalid”
  • Access the profile card for user: Brian Bishop Brian Bishop said…Sunday, October 30, 2016 9:49:35 PM EDTThis is a good entry on what was later termed as the “pictures generation”. You did a good job relating Warhol and Koons.

Art Since 1945, Journal entry 4, 1970 – 1979 by Dave Holmander

Journal Entry 4 

Art Since 1900 
1970 – 1979 

Dave Holmander  
October 14. 2016  

In this journal entry, I am going of the rails. Why?  Because I am trying to figure out whom I am as an artist and I do not know. That is not to say I have not gained anything in the last few months, for sure I have. I believe I am getting a sense but am not sure. In addition, because in the comment section journal entry 3 notes “concepts that you find most challenging personally to focus on“.  So here I respectfully advance these thoughts. 

Early on, I learned that for the artist process is much more enjoyable over visual satisfaction and have become keenly aware the self-actualization is more important to the viewer than esthetics.. 

This current section 1970 to 1979 bring some clarity, but why? In all likelihood, it is because of several factors. Before getting into the weeds two are very clear. No longer seeing myself as a painter nor printmaker but as an artist, my horizon of possibilities of the work I do is largely expanded to more thoughtful projects involving installations and work in public spaces etc. (i.e.: my Northern Rail/Trail project). Therefore, the first consideration with out elaboration is this entire unit is seemingly devoted to large-scale installation projects. In addition, myself being a child of the seventies I was in my 20’s almost the entire decade, it was cool, I knew it was cool, I knew it was the time of my life never to be repeated (my generation had broken from our parents forbids and the past, we where free). Thus, there is a shared identity with the work expresses and freedom to explore new boundaries. 

So what I know about my visual work in painting is that stylistically it is some variant form of impressionistic with an occasional abstract expressionist work. My printmaking is all about varied process of which I feel proficient in several  while photograph is a tool. New to the mix is using found object which function as sculpture, incorporation video and an interactive component. 

From the current period under discussion, three  key word  Structuralism, Minimalism and Conceptual Art. This is what I understand this period to be about and in a more general way; it is what I wish my installation work to portray. Herein, while these are specific to avant-garde in application to my work it is difficult for me not to see elements of all and now am purpose motivated to apply these various forms, space, light, field of vision, etc. in my work. 

Structuralism gives us a model for social forms in logical relationship of color and spatial qualities etc., but also in inclusion and exclusion of contrasting spacing objects, process or activity. As an example in my series, I contrast health life style (oil paintings) against industrial past (solar plate prints) and use of shifters (copper plate prints for script) with found objects that are modified into sculpture to (actualize presences). The arrangement of the piece with the availability of a ride-able trail bike and video presentation will create an interactive experience. 

Minimalism is American art often associated with sculptural is well represented in painted medium by Barrett Newman, Ad Reinhardt and David Smith. It may vary widely evocating the sublime monochrome to simplistic repetitive geometrics. (There are not less that 4 monochrome paintings in my series).  Thomas Kerns creatively get the Massachusetts legislate to buy into a massive museum spectacle. In a hallucinatory sense he sees Minimalism in a similar light, the idea pure intensity. Fredric Jameson would call it “the hysterical sublime”.  But it is a work making itself happen. It is the apex of it’s beholder and the work itself. Thus, it is the exploitation of simulacrum. 

The last to be consider is Conceptual Art. If Minimalist object is the “taking relationships out of the work” by making them “a function of space , light, and viewers field of vision  “Robert Morris.,  Then Conceptual Art remove the object, space and light. It is void of any formalism and a reaction against commercialization. It is a conflagration of Sermonic, Feminism, and Popular Culture. It is a reaction against everything else and a place for anything else. 
It is a natural progression to move from Minimalist to Conceptual and it signifies pluralism and presupposes that everything is available to any artist in the production of art.  

These three art forms mention have eventually found there way into establish process but not without serious challenges for institutions and museum. 

End Note:

Base on the feed back from the last journal entry my responce is in an aera that am stuggling of idenity as an artist and where do I fit in. It seem to me that if I can not answer that question I will find it difficult moving forward. I dug in to each of the three sub point but did not elabarate here. I selected these bcause they seem applicable to me.

Art Since, 1945 Journal entry 3, 1960 – 1969 by Dave Holmander

Journal Entry 3

Art Since 1900

1960 – 1969

Dave Holmander

Sept 30. 2016

The decade opens with contract of shapes, forms and identity in search for a sole. The lingering effect of WW2 are past and a young crop of emergent artist spring forth with it’s own avant-grade such as “The New Realists” intent on “redefining the paradigms of collage, the readymade, and the monochrome. It closes with no less vigor as Conceptual art resulted from the blending of readymade and geometrics themselves variants of Fluxus and Pop art.

The period reveals a proliferation creative work no area is neglected and new social concerns come to the fore as in the work of Claes Oldenburg The Store, 1961 on environmental issues. Another example in diversity from contradiction in aesthetic a throw back to Italy 1909-15 but advanced by contemporaries like Michelangelo Pistoletto, Venere degli stacci, 1967 (Venus and Rags). The decade is full of numerous example thus we should limit further discussion to only two individuals.

In 1960, Clement Greenberg publishes Modernist Painting. Here he puts forth a set of terms allover, easel picture, homeless representation, color-space, and optical. This is a frontal attack on Abstract Expressionism with the work of Jackson Pollock and Barrett Newman in mind. In referencing The Crisis of the Easel Picture1948, he contrasts flatness, frontality and lack of incident. Rather than addressing the substance of the piece his opponents take issue with characterization of wordily use “criticism’ over “art writing” not verbal preciosity.

“It was Greenberg’s sense that in its jettison of art, the avant-grade had come to stand for a position he characterized, negatively, as merely “subversive and futuristic” pp477/478

Earlier in his career Greenberg had published Avant-Garde and Kitsch and Towards a Newer Laocoon. His views are well known; therefore, from these and other publication it is not surprising of him to try to project a development of art from a personnel conception. The “avant-garde had transformed itself in Greenberg’s eyes from upholder of cultural values to its enemy … which cheapened … modernist projects” p481 and aligned with commercial interest. Thus nearing the end of the 1960s there are missing scientific methodical-ness namely a separation between optical quality (color sphere) and aesthetic quality.

In name recognition among modernist/contemporary artists one name stand out more than any other in the American psychic , more than Marcel Duchap, Jason Pollock, Jasper Johns and Barrett Newman. It is Andy Warhol.

Warhol did individual and collaborative works of art, was a filmmaker, writer, underground music, fashion etc. Born in 1928 he moved to New York in 1949 and achieving early success. Becoming wealthy, enough he bought the works of Johns, Stella and Duchamp.

His first painting was comic strips but made full use of silkscreen. Notable work is Campbell soup can Disaster,also Elvis and Marilyn. Moving beyond the purely visual effect he reveals the consecutiveness of his understanding modernism with White Burning Car 111, 1963 take from a newspaper image producing a simulacrum of the real but to gruesome to show the actual during this period. Another of the period is Lavender Disaster, 1963 here he show gradation of 12 images of electric chair with diminishing light.

Most famously is his motto “I want to be a machine” which is taken to mean “the blankness of the artist and art like” p532. This play to his strength as his work reveals a repetition of subject and a lead into more of his quotes, “I like boring things” and “I like things to be exactly the same over and over again” Repetition in Warhol mind is not a representation, referent, or signifier. It is “traumatic reality … through a rupture in the image” p534.

One of his most controversial works appeared at the New York World Fair 1964, Thirteen Most Wanted Men,1964, which hung as a mural. The social/political motivation of the work was obvious and offensive to cultural norms of the period. Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Commissioner Morris and court architect Philip Johnson gave instructions to cover up the images. He responded in kind with gay mockery of his signature silver paint.

The decade closes but not before the old foundations once again are challenged. Foremost with exhibitions in Bern and London 1969 “When Attitude Become Form” and “Anti-illusion: Procedures/Material” New York focus on process art. Non specific medium and process over ride tradition into a more sublime abstraction of though and activity.

Art Since 1945 Journal entry 2 1950 – 1959 by Dave Holmander

Journal Entry 2  

Art Since 1900 

1950 – 1959 

Dave Holmander  

Sept 15. 2016  

The decade of the 1950 transitioned by the still lingering, effects of World War 2 in Europe at its onset saw the move from Paris elites with a neo-Avant-garde clearly defined by American modernism when it closed. Through out this tumultuous decade of artist rivalry it is clear Jackson Pollock is the standard of reference and greatest contemporary influence. 

Barnett Newman in retrospect steals the 1951 as artist of the year with his lack luster second show at the Betty Parsons Gallery. Jackson Pollock encouraged him to do another show though his first was viewed as a failure because of negative press and uncanny absent of other artist at its opening. The second was no more successful. It is not until 1958 and again 1959 before solo shows change his fortune and he find respect for his work of atmospheric space incorporating signification thus dubbing him a father figure of minimalist artist by Thomas B. Hess.  

As the decade developed, three works by Robert Rauschenberg 1953 once again shape modernism. His four foot square white canvasErased de KooningDrawingand Automobile Tire Print. These are seen as a redux ofDadain character and emblematic of the earlier Marcel Duchamp but even more important reveal hostility toward Abstract Expressionism. The works use of indexical marking reveal his ability to use non-compositional subject. He is not alone in this period for Ellsworth Kelly use of found object with several progressive iterations Window 1949 abstract painting discards the referent but clear use of indexical transfer is evidenced. 

Although the US modernist movement has taken hold mid-decade it is not at the exclusion of international appeal. There is no personnel contact with Jackson Pollock but evidence shows he followed theGutaiexhibition in Japan and attributed to some level of influence. Kazuo Shirage, Work II1958 is such an example with his foot painting. There are also variants of live art, interest in new materials, geometrics, concrete and audiovisual to name a few with Gutaieventually showing in New York at the Martha Jackson Galley 1958. The time also sees the short live Neoconcretismoin Brazil and still active Parisian community with Le mouvementshow at Galerie Denise Rene with the launch of Kineticism. 

Additionally, London breaks free of the effect of WW2 with it’s this is Tomorrow exhibition 1956 spearheaded by the Independent Group. It a mix of artistic writers and commercial design interest prelude to British Pop Culture. One of the examples of this period is Richard Hamilton‘s Just what is it that makes today homes so differently, so appealing? 1956. It is not without controversy that influences from Paris and New York encompassing modern design and pop culture it runs head on against the British art establishment lead by curator Kenneth Clark.  

On mainland Europe the SituatioistInternational group lead by Guy Debordemerges from a sorted background. It is an odd marriage. Evidence shows that they sought to advance subversive situations in both visual and literary works. Deborda prolific writer produces The Society of the Spectacle in which he attempts to expose the fallacy of modern living and how capitalism is subverting culture. The group fractures and is dissolved by 1972. 

As the decade comes to a close Jasper Johns is thrust to the forefront with his Target with Four Faces1955 appearing on the January 20, 1958 cover of Art News. While earlier critic affixes neo-Dadato his work his investigation was more inquiring of Marcel Duchamp whom he eventually met later that year. John’s Flag1954-5 and the former plus other work show at Leo Castelli Gallery in New York the same year. An analytical critique purports intentional use of signification, contradiction, irony and allegory. In joining his ranks others like Frank Stella use black enamel on canvas aluminum and copper while producing his would minimalist works. 

The period is noted for its shift from Europe to North America becoming epicenter of Modernist movement. There has been a wholesale assault on Abstract Expressionism but not without serious critique of idealist influence. A proliferate number of creative disciplines have embraced avant-garde from black sculpture toMerdad’ artistato wax and installations such as Ed KienholzPortable War Memorialonce dub junk art. The decade ends never very far from social/political controversy as “New Images of Man” show The Museum of Modern Art in New York explores existential aesthetic resultant cold war cultural. 

Art Since 1945, Journal entry 2, 1945-1949 by Dave Holmander

Intro and 1945 to 1949 

 David Holmander  at Thursday, August 25, 2016 12:05:02 PM EDT
Last Edited:Monday, September 5, 2016 11:08:06 PM EDT

The current journal entry is divided into two sections with the first beginning the introduction and the second that period 1945 to 1949 and is based upon the textbook “art since 1900” published by Thames & Hudson.


By way of starting this first journal entry I want to say that thought out the reading I was particularly pleased to note that thematically it followed and built upon the foundation which was laid in “ Critical Theory MFV801” seminar in the first residency by tying key words to the discussion thus building a bridge from the prior to new material.  With it came applicable impacted various aspects of modernist art and specially contemporary abstract  within the twenties and thirty with surrealism reference to the theoretical and political of the seventies and eighties feminism; and, “the working of subjectivity and sexuality” (p15) . It is my opinion that “Lynda Benglis, Untitiled, 1974” (p19) is a profound example of the latter.

Social history likewise has been depicted through art and continues today though it is a complex mosaic not always easily identified but is mingled with various strains of Marxism in a more pure form of philosophical inspiration. We might suggest “aestheticism conceiving the work of art as a purely self-sufficiency and self-reflexive experience” (23) espoused by Theophile Gautier. Autonomy served this purpose also which engendered capitalistic logic into the late sixties thus the codification of art to the present.

Ideology played a roll in aesthetics. It was Gyorgy Lukacs speaking extensively about the relationship of Marxism and social art history. Most notably his “key concept was that of reflection, establishing a rather mechanistic relationship between the forces economic and political base and the ideological and the institutional superstructure” (p27) thus Meyer Schapiro concludes “cultural representation is the mirror reflection of idelogical interest” (p28) and this is evidenced in artistic representation.

There is however, a difference in popular culture and it’s appeal to the masses of society.

While to the novice it might appear to be slight of hand to the art historian or critic it is a “question of how so-called high art or avant-garde practices relate to the emerging mass-cultural formation of modernity” (p29).  Therefore,  particularly with American social art historians there was intense desire to establish it’s own identity after WW2 so formulation of “neo-avant garde” (p31) become critical as it is distinct. Irrespective, the strength of the modernist art movement and the interconnectedness of social causes and the accompanying history for one hundred years lack cohesiveness while emulation some over riding themes from which to build upon.

Roland Barthes, French literacy’s studied semiology as a separation from signs and came to the conclusion that “content has to be replaced by referent “  … “But … axiom are already there … as signs “ (p33).  These conflagrations mimics formalism and structuralism where as Barthes intends to point to a historical links of modernism with literary works. While and example of formalism may be view in the work of George Brague,Violin , 1910; this follow the arbitrary nature of Pablo Picasso, Bull’s Head,  1942.  However; this process indeed has had it’s limits but nonetheless the foundation of the modernist movement is set in canonical precedent.

The sixties mark once again an attitude of linguistics inroads into the modernity of art and it’s expansion with the enlargement and identification of the “shifter” (p41). Most importantly, the use of “I” and “you” as a mechanism in conduction a conversation between the first person and the second or third person as you might have it, but also in support of work wherein the visual experience is insufficient for the critic or art lover to fully appreciate the work and thus the presence of experience.

Any discussion no matter how brief of poststructuralism and deconstruction would not be complete without some mention of the “perpetual allusion” (p47) which in essence is marked by the term “simulacrum” .  A little known or use term yet the very foundation which virtually all of presence day society functions under.  The reality of non-reality of living in a mode of non-reality that we think life is or should be.  Living life as a fantasy and completely devoid of the possibility of knowing reality. It is the allusion, which the economic forces have manipulated people to believe the way life should be, and failure to realize they are a cog in someone else’s wheel. Thus the impression of representation and it is here where I believe the artist may face the greatest challenge but also the greatest opportunity even to be cutting edge or a new avant-grade.


In 1945 David Smith constructs “Pillar of Sunday” (p364).  The subject is not nearly as important as it is a departure from the Cubist who created space on a flat surface but now in real space Surrealist in their free stand works. The period is mark with a great variety of new entries but also breathes new life into prior works like Julio Gonzalez, “Women Combing Her Hair“, 1936 and Pablo Picasso, “Head of a Women“, 1929-30 (365).


In Europe it is still a difficult time after WW2 ended the emotional effect of the horrific war still fresh in the mind . But the short lived “Cacaism” (p369) immerges liken to “Dadaism” (p369) which followed The Great War.  Without doubt the major works of this period stems from France and a significant exhibition “Galerie Rene Drouin in Paris in May 1946“(p369). Most profound is Jean Dubuffet’s “Volonte de puissance” 1946 (p370) which depicts a nude stunted child having survived a horrific experience but emotionally scared.


This period brought forth a desire to move forward and away from the back drop of the lingering effects of war. Though the famous Bauhaus school of modernist design was  closed by the Nazis interest in it’s concept finds it way to Black Mountain College in North Carolina with imports like Josef Albers from Chicago but previously from Bauhaus in Berlin. This largely an experimental concept within and egalitarian college, but it brings forth a new dimension to modernistic of expression  which is purely Americanized. With Mohol-Nagy, Albers new radical design advance  with a  dialectical viewing experience as refected in Josef Albers, “Homage to the Square” 1970 (p379).

Continuing that same year and into 1948 “Abstract Expressionism” gains a foothold and latter Life magazine will publishes a photo by Nina Leen title “The Irascibles”, 1951 of a sorted group of artist working autonomously but having been brought together through an exhibition held at New York’s famed Metropolitan Museum of Art and as such their work takes root and has had a profound impact in visual art.


This is the year Life magazine ask it readers select the greatest living artist. They pick Jackson Pollick for his drip painting. His work is intriguing and complex but most notably for it’s “hallucinated literalness” (p387). It is how light reflect off the work which is unique. His process was to lay canvas horizontal to the floor and make drippings while standing over the work thus as the paint dry there was not dropping of paint on the vertical slop thereby the reflective quality of light on the finished work emulated a more uniform illustrative viewing experience.

1949 also saw another sub division in the modernist movement called “Brutalism”. One was called the Coba group because its proponents hailed from Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam where a group of young artist where endeavoring a new direction bring to light African tribal art and untapped children’s art. At the same time with similar goal New Brutalists in England emerged again with the notion to move forward and shake of the past. It was more of a pealing back the veneer of the gilded image and expression the substructure as the grand revealing. This was expressed in the architecture of modern building design a more boxes look of support post and beams are left exposed and window trimmings are raw basic yet it’s expression influences all modern art from collage to metal to sculpture.



A critical theory: Artist Identity

Critical Theory – Artist Identity

by Dave Holmander-Bradford

June 2017

Everyone has influence which affects their outlook and orientation about the world in which they live. These become formative consideration how we develop as a person but are particularly acute for the artist who would reveal the subtleties in their work. This paper is about the identity of that underlying inhibition in which the artist is uniquely opportune to expose. As a case in point we will look at an artwork toward the end of this discussion, but first set in-part a case for individual identity.

Why should we care about Identity?

Identity could be defined in a narrow constrict of singular personhood. I know I am a person because I self-exist, I feel, I can smell and eat, talk and hear. But seeing our reflection in a mirror or leaving evidence behind in space once we leave it isn’t what this conversation is about.

The true to self-contemporary artists concern with identity is more comprehensive when speaking to multiple considerations. Their work may self-identify with social changes and injustice directly or inversely. By direct we mean those reflection embedded with a specific value which conveys a personal passion. Inversely, i.e.: “the well-observed inverse relationship between disability and social contact” i The notion of “social utility” is almost for certain anything which artist find offensive and affront to creative works and voice to the consciousness of modern, civil and freely open society. “Social utility is a service, or characteristic, that benefits most of the population of any given society. For example, a service which benefits about 80 or 90% of the population at the cost of the other 10-20% considered as a social utility. In short, minimum cost but maximum benefits by a service for the society is a social utility.” ii

So, it is here at this intersecting of identities in a work of art we perceive and express ourselves. Factors and conditions of sex, ethnicity, eco/social placement and physicality likewise will define our identity. In these conditions, the artist may speak the loudest for the least.

Sociologists have identified five different approaches to specific types of identity.iii They include individual, social, collective, multiple, and stigmatized. It is therefore not too difficult connecting these cognitive functions to the larger issues in which contemporary society faces considering current economic, social and political disparity. Jeff Chang talks at length on the changing identity of American life beginning in 1963 through present day in his award-winning book Who We Be. The very essence of the civil rights movement to our current state of affairs’ have centered around different cultures and our identity. About multiculturalism, he cites Richard Bernstein, “considerable confusion about who exactly we are, how worthy we are, and whether we have things in common”. Chang continues with Paul Beatty’s reference to “homosexual right, radical feminism, and environmental extremism. And he closed with a story, likely apocryphal, set in the ashes of the Los Angeles riots, whose endless televised stream of images of fire and chaos seemed to evoke antebellum nightmares of some vast colored people’s vengeance” iv (p121) At the core of this discussion then is as an artist we do not come as a blank slate or empty pail. Each one a conditioned frame of reference which at its source is not original to self but a formation from the individual origin. Conversely, equally true each artist will have decided for a personal identity based upon some systems of values either by adoption thereof or by a rejection of the status-quo. It will be important for the artist has come to grasp this understanding in which they identify for the betterment of their medium, but also to manifest a clearer articulation of the voice by which they chose to speak.

I didn’t know that. Off course not, no one ever told you. (false foundations)

For a moment, let’s pose the question in relation to how it is we find ourselves at this juncture, and present social conflict. Could we say that if there is a problem in societal identity (culture wars) the fix must ultimately address the source/origin from where it systemically came?

There is little disagreement on what the acute issues are cited by Pat Buchanan who “captured the spirit of the growing backlash … decried the across board assault on … Anglo-American heritage. He said the combined forces of open immigration and multiculturalism constitute a mortal threat to the American Civilization.” (p119) However, counter Buchanan perspective which finds great populous with certain demographics it is not reflective of a growing majority of the American citizens who find the new multiculturalism uniquely American and core to a maturing of national identity.

Beginning with the civil rights movement, and continuing with Feminism, Gay rights, and gender issue, immigration, disabled persons, etc. the list might seem endless. These social injustices have been largely litigated with broad public discourses. Unfortunately, most approached to resolving them are bandage solutions because it is almost impossible to correct them without addressing the underpinning issues upon which Western Civilization was constructed.

A closes point of clarity and refinement might be construed by Adrian Piper Article the Triple Negation of Colored Women Artist. Although she is specifically addressing a matter concerning black women artist, issues she raises have a much broader implication. She contends, “American society (keep in mind it is built upon the foundation of Western Civilization) is now imposing a Euro-ethnic, Christian, heterosexual male ethos on all of us to maintain a uniquely American identity against the incursion of other, … similarly, the art world is reasserting a Euro-ethnic, heterosexual male aesthetic on all of us to resist the incursion of gays, colored, and practitioners of outlaw sexuality into the inner sanctum”. v Her terminology is slightly dated but her focus point targets to the core of the issue. The inherent male dominance of all Western society. Some have called this the male gaze. It’s the prism how persons condition in the west view the world.

In this context, we need them to ask what will it take to correct this misconception? How did we get this way?

Every undergraduate should remember taking History of Civilization as part of their core curricula. They will have learned that the three pillars of Western Civilization are, the Greek City/States, the Roman Empire, and the advancement of Christianity. These three formed the triad upon which American society stands. From the Greeks, we get our democratic ideology, the Romans individual citizenship, and unity through brute strength, and from Christianity our authoritative moral underpinning. “To the Graeco-Roman world, Rome was the Eternal City.” The apex of this moment in time might be characterized when Rome was dub “The City of God” 410 A.D.(C.E.) “it was St. Augustine who, in the wake of the Visigoths capture of Rome devised the phrase to represent the rise of a new Christian society … that the community of the Most-High would endure through the greatest city on earth had fallen.” vii (p121)

What if one of these three has not been represented correctly? What if the paradigms of Christian morality are not representational of true Christianity. It is my contention that the male ethos to which Piper addresses is a possibility the results of the moral imperative being prejudicial and inconsistency with the Biblical narrative. And, if this is so the process of correction must be at its core origin. Therefore, we need to deviate momentarily and look at the biblical account and decide for ourselves if the Christian morality and the male’s promenades have been faithfully transmitted to contemporary society. The process and understanding may give a stronger argument for those who are endeavoring to correct any imbalance in today social structures.

Whether you agree with the biblical account of the origin of species it is irrelevant to this discussion. In a discussion on Christian dogma Christian Theology, by Millard Erickson a renowned conservative contemporary Protestant theologian he writes in the subsection The Universality of Humanity, referenced Both Sexes I provide the following redacted account.

“Women have at times been regarded as, at best, second-class members … While to some extent the Old Testament (Christian “Holy Bible” and “The Torah” for Jewish persons) did not overturn this situation (the interpretation of the sacred writings has been by mortal human being, thus here a miss guided understanding became a perpetual ideological paradigm) from the beginning there were indications that in God’s sight women have equal status. These indications increased as time went on and the special revelation moved to progressively higher levels.

Already in the creation account, we find an indication of the women’s status … Genesis 1:26-27 … (the) emphasis, seemingly to ensure our understanding that women possess the image of God, just as does the man. … Karl Barth and Paul Jewett contend that we have triadic parallelism …

A second noteworthy feature … Genesis 2:18 … (some have implied) she is a helper to him as if this term implies some sort of inferiority or at least subordination of the women to man. … The expression helpmeet, used in some older versions, actually translates two Hebrew words nֲֲeged, means corresponding to or equal to … The word

rendered help “ezer” is used by God in several places … This would suggest … not inferior in essence … Rather, the helper is to be thought of a co-worker. …

Donald Shaner has summarized well Jesus relationship to women: It is striking that Jesus did not treat women as women but as (a) person. He took them seriously, asked them questions, encouraged their potential, and lifted them up to the dignity they deserved. “ viii (pp 563 – 566)

In an analysis of Erickson writings, I am suggesting the current conception of the male-dominated society linked to the bedrock of Western Civilization and at its origin is not to be found in core Christian teaching if we are to be true to the narrative. We must ponder with what the difficulty it is to move forward. An ardent feminist may never accept anything less than an all-out assault on religion of any sort; however, within this backdrop, an artist might find and enlarged a social hypothesis from which to address age-old issues of injustice, racism, and discrimination etc. An identity must find ways to address the inconsistency of arguments set forth by the status-quo while quilling the Euro-ethnic mainstream as Piper has expressed.

Where do we go from here?

To thwart the agency of the American imposition previously noted Piper now set forth a threefold outline as a path forward specifically as it related to the CWA; but, we may also extrude a broader inference to the populist at large and contextualizes it intentionality applicable to artists in general. She cites, “a CWA who expresses political anger or protest political injustice in her work may be depicted as hostel or aggressive.” Equally true, “a CWA

who deals with gender and sexuality in her work may be represented as seductive or manipulative”. The broader application here being what is arbitrated toward CWA artist is often implicated of all artist who does not conform to the given ethos of any period which proves the point. “When the art itself stymies the imposition of such stereotypes, the Euro-ethnic viewer is confronted with a choice … which will naturally require a concerted effort of discernment otherwise the variant will return to the comfort of Euro-ethnic stereo-type” thus rejecting the work as reprehensible. ix (p241

The great fear here is while all women (and all disenfranchised people groups) have made great gains across a broad spectrum of society there is ever present those forces which would reverse this course. The compendium she offers could serve a guide to keep the focus on the necessity to be ever vigilant all the while acquiesces that in some fashion women have of necessity engage in the zero-sum game of the Euro-ethnic art tradition.

In addressing head-on mainstream self-perpetuation, she offers the following perspective specific to the CWA. “First, this work has no halcyon past to mourn. Instead, it offers an alternative art progression that narrates a history of prejudice, repression, and exclusion, and looks, not backward, but forward to a more optimistic future. … competing for the truth. Second, it refutes the disingenuous Euro-ethnic postmodern claim that there is no objective truth … (or) testimony of the truth about prejudice, repression, and exclusion. Third, it belies the Euro-ethnic postmodern stance that claims the impossibility of innovation, by presenting artifacts that are, in fact, innovative relative to Euro-ethnic tradition – innovative not only in range and use of media they deploy but also in social culture and aesthetic content they introduce.”x (245 – 246)

What do we see

David Salle author of How to See might be an appropriate entry point. In his introduction he says, “Art is more than a sum of cultural signs: It is a language both direct and associative, and has a grammar and syntax like any other human communication.” xi So, when we look at the work of William de Kooning xii What is it that we are looking to see, learn, know, understand?

In his work Door to the River, (1960) what probes the mind. Let’s state the obvious first. Its genre is abstract, and its style is abstract expressionism. It is an oil painting in which the artist has employed impasto. I frankly am quite fond of it and for obvious reasons is why it’s the point of discussion though in many ways I am more interested in de Kooning as a person.

Of himself, he says, “I’m not interested in ‘abstracting’ or taking things out or reducing painting to design, form, line, and color. I paint this way because I can keep putting more things in it – drama, anger,

William de Kooning, Door to the River, 1960

pain, love, a figure, a horse, my ideas about space. Through your eyes, it again becomes an emotion or idea.”

“Heavily influenced by the Cubism of Picasso, de Kooning became a master at ambiguously blending figure and ground in his pictures while dismembering, re-assembling and distorting his figures in the process.” xiii

The work in question here is not obviously controversial or is it, yet we must ask place ourselves in the work to understand the work. What does he mean, door to the river? Where is the river? Is the river a noun? If so, is it beyond the door or is it running through the door? Are we in a river town and through this door we go to the river as opposed to another door which might go to the road. It’s abstract so we are to allow our mind to wander. Or are we viewing this from a Euro-ethnic perspective trying to press this work (maybe all his work) into our stereotype box which we have been precondition do? De Kooning’s work doesn’t want to fit into our nice little-compartmentalized box. It must be bad, so we should shun it just like the work of CWA.

We have viewed this work in the context of ekphrasis which is to say the image causes us to view the work as a rhetorical activity of an adjectival nature, It is a graphic, and dramatic piece of art. But perhaps for the viewer in the 21st century, it is not enough information provided yet his use of impasto, could it be some hint or carryover from his sculpture inspirations?

We should consider a more formal analysis based on the visual structures. The work has balance points and coherence of color palate. He used a large brush and leaves an impasto surface texture. This quality is an enabler for reflexive light. Compositionally, he has followed the conventions of good painting. Point is met with a counterpoint. Volumes and contours are declared boldly. The sight line evidence but not obtuse. His process conveys good perception with the visual intent.

I see this work as not just the door to the river but the door to opportunity. Where did the river come from and where does the river go? Perhaps the viewer is being enlisted to journey on the river to some distant place. Or perhaps passage through the door is an escape from something amenable. What we see here in the work is that contemplation will require a decision.

Herein then is identity, the work an artist reflects is the expression of self through abstraction, but for art to be real there requires a viewer to engage and become part of that identity, thus we see ourselves.

Work cited




iv Chang, Jeff. Who We Be, The Colorization of America, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014, Print

v Piper, Adrian, The Triple Negation of Colored Women Artist, Chapter 28 pp 239 – 246 Manchester: NHIA MVF803 Seminar 3 noted supplied by the instructor. June 2017

vi The male gaze is a concept coined by feminist film critic Laura Mulvey. It refers to the way visual arts are structured around a masculine viewer.

vii Wallbank, Walter T., Alastair M. Taylor, and Nels M. Bailkey, Civilization, past & present, Fourth Edition, Glenview: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1975, Print

viii Erickson, Millard J., Christian Theology, Second Edition, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1983, Print

ix Piper, Adrian, The Triple Negation of Colored Women Artist, Chapter 28, Manchester: NHIA MVF803 Seminar 3 noted supplied by the instructor. June 2017

x Piper, Adrian, The Triple Negation of Colored Women Artist, Chapter 28, Manchester: NHIA MVF803 Seminar 3 noted supplied by the instructor. June 2017

xi Salle, David, How to See, New York: W. W. Norton, 2016, Print

xii William de Kooning was a Dutch-American abstract expressionist artist who was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands and moved to New York in 1927

Landscape Theory- How & What we Paint

Landscape Theory-

How and What we Paint

Paper Number Three

June 5, 2017


Dave Holmander

The third and final paper about Landscape Theory as it relates to my specific body of work focusing on rail/trails. It will consider the medium of painting and the utility of its applicable use to create an encompassing virtual illusion stratified intensity. Additionally, in a more sublime way will consider the relevance of place and how artist specifically are involving in that process through suggestion.

While this paper is addresses specifics, which focuses on landscape I am not suggesting that it is comprehensive or all-encompassing. Given space and time I have tried primarily to discuss this subject only in the context as it may relate to my own body of work.

Painting Matters:

“Painters today have a wide array of image sources from which to paint.” When it comes to subject matter how does an artist determine what it is that he or she paints. It would be difficult in any case to pursue a lasting endeavor in any art form if there were no intrinsic and personal quality employed all the while presenting contemporary relevancy. For the painter, specificity I might suggest that subject matter is of paramount importance without such aesthetic quality and obvious conceptual intentionality will suffer. In other words, a good composition does not just happen but is intentionally planned.

In considering painting as an art form it has parallels to which may be found in a variety of artistic expressions. For a moment, consider the evolution of music, as Jan Swafford has noted in Language of the Spirit.

“Wherever and whenever we find people, we find music. Likely an integral part of human life from the beginning, music has left its traces in instruments and in art dating back to the dawning of our species … All the arts have a primeval connection to magic and mystery … Animals painted on the walls of caves … Instruments and songs and painting and poetry and dance probably evolved together … linked to a mystery, the uncanny”. (p3)

The earliest known cave painting date more than 35,000 years ago. It was a mixture of dirt, charcoal, spit and animal fat. The canvas was nothing more than a rock wall. In more recent times came the alchemist to our present-day convention and luxury of purchasing prepared pigment. More specific to this discussion now is the actuality of the paint and painting referenced to landscape.


African-Musicians-1939-by-Samuel-Haile.-Copyright-estate-of-the-artist-and-York-Museums-TrustAfrican-Musicians-1939-by-Samuel-Haile. -Copyright-estate-of-the-artist-and-York-Museums-Trust

However, before moving on it is noteworthy to simply mention that quite frequently many museum exhibition will often have an installation with an accompanying sound track to height the viewing experience or may be an integral part of the work.

How it is that we paint:

There are two general concern to be addressed relative to painting in this discussion. Firstly, is the continued dialogue about the current utility of painting as a valued medium of expression in the 21st century. Secondly more specific to my work is the contextual aggregated process in application and apparent visual surface quality.

As an artist who paints there is one recurring and dishearten theme that will not go away. Previously mentioned in paper number two photography released painting from the bond of historical preservation with pictorial moments thus free to explore new areas of visual expression.

In Painting, edited by Terry R. Myers virtually the entire introduction is spent reviewing in a convoluted fashion the “painting is dead” movement articulated first by Eugene Delacroix journal May 15th, 1824 or more specifically “the end of painting” assessment surmised and conjectured by Douglas Crimp. Myers reviews several features and suggest a resolution.

“Painting since the end of the nineteenth century is inextricable from the … story of the perpetual cycle of its death and rebirths in the face of photography, conceptual art, installation, digital imaging technologies, the world-wide web, or plan lack of interest,” (12) Myers continues citing other voices with a suggested rerouting. “Crimp’s provocative essay on The End of Painting and … David Joselit’s comparably timely observations on present condition in Painting Besides Itself (2009) … painting has always belonged to the networks of distribution and exhibitions.” (13) With this result one must ask why is it given that so many an artist turn to painting as a chosen medium in which to create? Perhaps the answer must be one of personal choice but perhaps the intuitiveness of the artist is more insightful than the critic or curator. Myers does however, provided to positive thrust to the future. “My hope is that the … necessarily paradoxical state of contemporary painting alongside the expansion of its material and philosophical conditions – and, less definable but crucially, the continuation of everything about which still not … said”. (19)

To simplify Myers and the lethargic discussion he proposes I suggest a more metaphorical summary. Painting is cyclical not necessarily in it economy but in nuances’. Put another way it’s the gift that keeps on giving if not to the purveyor certainly to the artist.

An artist who paints does so not by accident:

If you are an artist who paints you know the feeling and the texture of paint, the smoothness of the pigment between your fingers, the smell of the oils and cleaners, you become one with your work, you feel your work, you apply paint with great detail and emotion. You love what it is that you do and it never becomes boring or laborious. To borrow a simile from bicycle racing, when you stop loving it stop racing. The same could be said about painting.

While I do wish to speak directly about the spreading of the pigment. I believe it’s uses and application are critical to conceptual landscape achieving a lasting and continual life-cycle. However, the overarching intentionality for any progressive art work must as Myers has suggested considering complex material infusion, pigment being only one these. A recent example can be found in my own work Cardiff by the Sea principally a study. Here incorporated an insertion of found object by way of a piece of copper film used to create the road way. Another unique example was in the MFA graduation (January 2017 NHIA) project of James Obrien with the insertion of electric lights with variable intensity signifying the moons luminous brightness throughout the evening hours. Also, repeated here again “philosophical conditions – and, less definable but crucially, the continuation of everything about which still not … said”. It is in this context wherein the artists will be able to address and answer questions of “how do you wish to locate … new paintings in terms of a theoretical backdrop” while creating a contemporary viewing experience. We should not conclude here without referencing the use of music or other audio as an enhancement tool.

13 holmander dave cardif by the sea - Copy

Cardiff by the Sea

We should be cautious of those who say painting is dead; however, always cognate that there are those critics but ever determined to prove otherwise understanding that artistic specificity in panting is ever a continuum of the recreative process finding new voice, form, and audience.

How should paint look:

It is the paint which make painting possible without such we could create no visual image. The paint is more critical to the work than the canvas. You can literally paint on anything but you must have paint. The question how is it that you apply? What is that which you want to accomplish with paint? These beg to visually and a kind of ascetics. How you lay the pigment on the object matters and create reflective qualities, penetrations of depth and surface variation. We might include value discernment but that not the focus here.

How paint should appear on one hand is obvious a point of subjectivity and personal taste. It is however, not limited in this context. In conceptual art with respect to landscape either representational or abstraction or some variant form therein I contend it is very important and any given artist should approach their work with the greatest of care and intentionality. It is in the surface texture of paint which has been indiscriminately layered to create landscape the artist may find their greatest strength second only to composition and conceptualize of idea. (composition and conceptuality should be view as two complimentary features in contemporary landscape)

In a conversation between Gerhard Richter and Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, again from Painting, edit by Myers, to Richter, Buchloh ask, “What about the objectification of the process of painting itself? You paint your big pictures not with artist brush but with decorator brush: isn’t this all part of atomization and objectivization of the painting process, along with permutation and ‘chance’, color relations and compositional organization?” (p58)

Richter answers no to the question, Buchloh was suggesting a disconnect between artist intentionality and objectivity and the instrument. In this case, the brush was that disconnect. To the contrary, the brush or palate knife, roller, etc. become an extension of the artist. The size of the brush is a factor of utility to the scale of the work and its brush stroke effective visually is still determined by the artist.

Brush stroke, use of pallet knife or in the case of some very large works wherein Richer uses a screen print emulsion spreader it might appear simple enough. But how should we factor in the work of Sol-LeWitt’s wall paintings? It is simpler than we might realize. In the case of Sol-LeWitt his brush is his pencil, his diagram, his specific measurements, his instructions thus his commission to a collaboration of other artist. As part of Mass MoCa’s permanent collection an entire exhibition is given to Sol-LeWitt. Upon close examination, it is evidence that the paint which was applied to the wall by a collaboration of artists was taped off, and either rolled or more likely applied by spraying. It shows hard lines and district ridging build at the edge but a very smooth mirror like surface area. The intuitiveness of the artist is evident because the intentionality of Sol-LeWitt was purposeful that other artists would finish the final image.


Isometric, Sol-Lewitt 2002

It is in the artist domain to determine how their work must be seen.

In consider my own body of work on Rail/Trail the very nature of the subject matter is rooted in landscape. This has posed several questions because of the base composition. How do you take something which is historically a common place image and create a contemporized conceptual viewing experience which address present day cultural and social issues?

There are three specific area which might be addressed. Two reference the composition and the other it’s visual impact. So, it is David Salle proposes,” What is this thing about art that speaks to us? How to account for the feeling for the recognition we have for art, almost as if the work were waiting for us, anticipation our engagement with its deeper music?” (6)

Regarding the composition, if we intend to create contemporary landscape conceptual art then we must dismiss any notion of grandiose serine overviews etc. The landscape (backdrop) is quite secondary to the composition. It is a frame wherein the subject (idea) rest. It is the conveyance of the idea how it speaks to the cultural, political and social currents of a specific place. The scape itself should have a very narrow focus else one risk it become the focal point. However, the strength of the idea will be lost unless there is a strong visual impact. This is where the painter greatest strength will be shown.

Returning to the application of paint and its use in my rail/trail project. It is in the paint where we may show emotion and energy. While landscape inherently will be painting a site-specific place the artist should never feel compelled to represent it as it exists.

My current body of work incorporated very heavy layered up brush stroke, dabbing with the pallet knife, scoring with handle, variant mediums and solvent mixture. Also, the field of vision and perception of depth contrast against bold and distinct color. I have strived for heighten reflective light contrasting ridges and valleys and a strong intensity at the vanishing point. I have taken total liberty with place; whereas, actual place was a beginning place but my work isn’t about that specific place. It’s about what the viewer see and how they perceive the work. I want them to gaze into the depth of the work and imagine what’s beyond what cannot be seen. If they are a cyclist they will immediately identify with the bicycle and gaze forward imaging the ride they are about to embark on.


Gerhard Ricter

The artist drives the paint:

Painting is not dead, we look at Gerhard Richter painting about. It’s the paint and painting which makes his work. It is how the artist handles paint which will distinguish great art. Once again, Salley, “One way to look at painting – and I use that word as shorthand for visual art in general – is to notice as you take its measure what it is you find yourself thinking about, which may differ from what you imagine you’re supposed to be thinking about.” He is suggestion that visual art is as much about what is seen, but also what the image evokes for both artist and viewer. Thus, our seeing is with the eyes but also the mind and it is the paint in is onset which will drive this point.

How do we know if our art is successful? I think Salle has touched on it. If our art makes people stop, ponder and think. Painting optically with passion will help convey the artist intention very effectively.

Conceptual Landscape: Earth-Mapping:

Bringing this final paper to a close respective to landscape theory it is worth noting that artists are offering contemporary society an alternative way of seeing landscape. There is a long history of artist in mapping the earth through cartography. Moving forward again regarding my rail/trail at its onset the project in retrospect was much a mapping project as shown from the works from my first residence.

Painting does offer some interesting perspective for today’s artist. For example, in Jasper Johns Map 1961 or William de Kooning, Door to the River 1960

Edward S. Casey on painting the earth, “the postmodern artist is engaged in letting the invisible become visible, bring the obscure into the very light of day, into sheer visibility … The point of painting that receives this inspiration is to re-create a qualitative aspect of the earth in the painting, where it is re-presented as a landscape; however, difficult its recognition may be part of a given scene in the world of perception.” (XV) “As with … artist” such as “Jasper Johns by proceeds … paradox in his painting. The major … case … is sheer fact that he yokes painting and mapping together in one vivid complex work, play one-off against another so that the intrinsic virtues of each are highlighted by ironic contrast with those of other.” (129) It is here at this apex a convergence wherein landscape abstraction of place, social conscience and optics will define balance for the painter and earth mapping such is a way forward for painting. In somewhat a more retrospective way though my work lends itself a closer tie to representation than abstract, it does provide the base qualities of the structures set forth by Casey.

Willem de Kooning Door to the river, 1960

William de Kooning, Door to the River 1960

Work Cited

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Print.Zuck, Roy B. Interpretation, Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991. Print