IN HIS OWN WORDS: Why the hell you looking at paintings in the first place?


Barnett Newman, Cathedra, 1951. Oil on canvas, 8′ x 18′

I started painting after watching a movie about artist Jackson Pollack. It drew me to the art form called: Abstract Expressionism; works by Pollack, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, Barnett Newman to name a few.  I once mentioned to a dealer--a particular painting in their gallery had the exact style and structure of Rothko, they had no clues who Rothko even was. (Prices are in the millions paid for some of the works of the expressionists I just mentioned). Why would someone pay any sum for art? As an Abstract Expressionist, I offer my view. There are four (4) basic things to know about the art form of Abstract Expressionism.

1. Emphasis is on the use of elements and principles.

2. Typically, enormous scale paintings-many of the paintings are beyond the ability to get them in your home or apartment. (One of De Kooning paintings is 6ft tall and 8ft wide. Pollack; 93.5 inches by 155 inches Rothko produced three (3) paintings which all went together and were 11-by-15 feet each. Not something you're going to take through your front door.  That's not saying every abstract work is going to be that size).

3. With a few exceptions, there are no recognizable faces.

4. It can evoke or elicit emotions.  In many ways, it should require real understanding (not just slinging paint onto a canvas--but they do) beyond something taught in an art school. Though many artists see merit in going to art school; one can not necessarily be taught to be an artist. (At one point you could give a baby some paint and let them crawl around on the canvas, and yaw wee! wow wee! The next expressionist is born). In these artworks come meaning, reflections of a world, a society that surrounded us-either one tone in color or multiply in colors. The explanation is more profound than what the naked eye can see,  a one-tone canvas or multiply car pile-up of paint does have an answer when you look deeper. What's the problem? The average viewer of art only looks to make of what they think they see, usually something they can grasp in the material or representational/physical sense.  2.  Many can not afford art. 3. The art world is a world made up of rich to the super-rich, it segregates, discriminates,  and dictates what's of value, who's in demand, and who's on the horizon. 4. For the super-rich, its bragging rights or a long term investment strategy. 5. Art consultant or interior rep, it's about the aesthetics of a room or a wall.


5. To the dealer, it's about rent,  especially in spots like Manhattan, where rent is super high, so you have to sell art at mind-blowing prices to stay in business. 6. The critic, it's complicated word jargon and sophisticated observations. 7. The students, to study the methodology, the application, or the process used to create.   8. Spiritual, metaphysical or academic.  9. The hell if we really and truly know WHY. 1. The emerging world of artists today lack the creativity to elicit feelings, many of them are knock off artist of expressionists of the past. 2. Run a search on Google images for abstract paintings--you'd encounter a multi-verse of artworks, that I know probably are only fetching 20 bucks at the Dollar Store if not 10. Some would say, people, look at paintings because they like it. And though they may never/or do have the resources to acquire it,  it fills a space or decorates an area. It again requires us to ask ourselves, why are we looking at paintings in the first place.

© 2019  NXT-PROJECT Davine A. Green