Art is relative to the person creating it and the person or person that is viewing it. Each individual viewing the piece will come to there own conclusion of what exactly the piece means to them. My task is to describe art in a way that is not relative. To do this I must first determine what the literal meaning of art is.
According to Wordnet, Art is “the products of human creativity” (wordnet.princeton.edu). Three artists that come to mind after viewing this definition, three particular artists come to mind. Jean Michel Basquiat, Franz Marc, and Jackson Pollock, these three mean each spoke for there generation thorough there art.
The First Artist I would like to discuss is Jean Michel Basquiat Jean Michel Basquiat Was a product of the Graffiti movement, which started in 1970s peaked, and was revived again in the 80’s. The Graffiti movement was very short lived and Basquiat is one of the few artists people remember from that brief moment in time.
Jean Michel Basquiat is most known for his three very different art styles. The first was from 1980 to 1982 in which he painted images of skeletal figures and faces resembling masks this was a true example of Basquiat’s eerie obsession with mortality and imagery. The images quite often entailed the use of several unique lines and very vivid colors and often times they where images of the streets the Basquiat had at one time called home.
Basquiat’s third style was from 1982 to 1985, during this phase he created a series of multi-panel paintings and individual canvases that had exposed stretcher bars (Wooden bars used to give tension to a piece of canvas for painting. The canvas is pulled across the bars and fastened tightly, providing a good work surface for the artist….albanyinstitute.org) the surfaces of these paintings where usually very dense and were usually a collection of images that appeared to be completely unrelated.
The Images he created during this time showed us how Basquiat felt about Hispanic and Black heritage and how he identify with each races cultural and spiritual backgrounds. The Final Style was done between 1986 until Basquiat’s death in 1988. The pieces he created during this where very sporadic depicting images that consisted of very different symbols, sources, and content. His art during this period were considered a reflection of his pain after loosing his friend Andy Warhol.
Basquiat believed that every line had meaning this is something that rings true when looking at his works. At first glance, his work appears chaotic but if you continue looking, you realize that all of his work is significant to him and inspirational to many.
The piece of his I would like to discuss is an untitled piece that was created by him in 1984. This particular piece is made of Acrylic, Silk Screen, and Oil-stick on Canvas. This piece is and example of Post Modernism, it portrays various images of trucks, crude images of men and women.
This particular piece was considered a visual poem by the critics of his generation. The piece uses several bright colors to draw attention to the words that are scrawled about. This painting uses many warm colors such as reds’ yellows and oranges that guide the viewer’s eyes directly to the message he is trying to portray in his words and images. There is no set form and the lines in the painting are very subtle.
The second Artist I would like to discuss is Franz Marc. Franz Marc was born in Munich Germany in 1880. Marc Joined several artists such as August Macke and Wassily Kandinsky to form the group Der Blaue Reiter or The Blue Rider Artist circle in an effort to separate themselves from the German Neue Künstlervereinigung or New Artist Combination Movement. (Translation found on http://world.altavista.com/tr).
Marc Was considered a very unique expressionist mainly because his works where discernible. Often times during the expressionism movement artists works were not easy to understand and often times critics and viewers, where not quite sure what the image was. This was not the case with Franz Marc. His keen love of animals was quite evident in his work. The majority of his paintings were of animals mainly horses.
Franz mark was so interested in animals because he saw them as innocent and pure unlike the many evil things that were going on around him during his time. For instance World War I, which tragically claimed his life in 1916.
Franz Marc Garnered most of his inspiration from impressionist painters mainly because while he was studying art in Paris impressionism was the focus. In 1911, Marc had established his own artistic principles these principles were a mixture of Romanticism, Expressionism and Symbolism.
This can be assumed after reading a letter that was written to his friend Macke that gave emotional meanings to colors; in this letter, he said things like “Bleu is the male principle, astringent and spiritual. Yellow is the female principle, gentle gay and spiritual. Red is matter, brutal and heavy and always the color to be opposed and overcome by the other two” (artchive.com).
One Particular piece of art I would like to discuss by Franz Marc is entitled Die Grossen Blauen or The Large Blue Horses. This painting was done in oil on canvas and was a very successful painting during the German Expressionism Movement… This particular piece uses light and dark colors to create a sense of piece and serenity a theme that can be seen throughout Marc’s paintings.
There appear to be three horses in this painting each painted in blue possibly to symbolize that they are male horses after reading his letter to Macke. The warm colors such as the yellows and reds are used to create an image of and sky and to stand as a backdrop to that enhances the deep blue of the horses. The white colors in the painting are used as a contrast that helps to pull the picture together so that viewers’ eyes are not focused on what spot in the painting. This Painting is clearly an example of Franz’s tremendous love and affinity for animals it also demonstrates his keen eye for color and contrast.
Finally, I would like to discuss another artist whom was very important to the Abstract Expressionism movement, Jackson Pollock. Jackson Pollock was born in 1912 in Cody, Wyoming; he grew up in Arizona and California. Pollock began to study art in 1929 at the Art Student’s league in New York under regionalist painter Thomas hart. In 1940 Pollock’s style of art had completely changed he was no longer using the traditional easel with a canvas affixed to it.
Pollock began placing his canvas on the floor and poured and dripped his paint onto the blank canvas, often times using sticks, trowels knives or even his hands to manipulate the paints and create his desired effect. Pollock was quoted, as saying the reason for putting his canvas on the floor as opposed to an easel is that he “needs the resistance of a hard surface.
On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting”(en.wikipedia.org). Pollocks was influence by the Indian sand paintings he had seen done in the west as well as the Mexican Muralists he had observed as a student.
In 1951 Jacksons paintings became darker, he began using darker colors and usually black and he began to reintroduce more figurative elements into his paintings. This sudden change was attributed to Pollocks increasing reliance on alchol and his inability to keep up with the changing times and demand for new and more elaborate art.
In 1956 Pollock died in single ca crash at the age of only 44. However even after his death he continued to be one of America’s most celebrated artists and still is with documentary films such as Jackson Pollock(1987), Jackson Pollock-Love and Death on Long Island(1999) and a movie drama starring Ed Harris entiled Pollock(2000).
One Piece that I would like to take the time to describe that was done by Pollock is called Convergence. This painting is done in oil and in on a canvas, the paintings itself was done in 1952. This painting is a myriad of light and dark colors splashed upon a blank canvas creating ideally a convergence of colors.
With yellow as it’s dominate colors it creates an image that unique and challenging. Colors like black and red and white can be seen through out the painting leading the viewers eyes completely throughout making it a very successful piece of art. There are now visible lines and there appears to be no shading. However it is clear that the purpose of this painting was to do just that.
All three pieces are very unique in there own ways. However, they share many similarities. For example, each painting combines the use of vivid colors and unique lines to create paintings that are both mesmerizing and intriguing. Each painting was done by an artists that was at first labeled a renegade in the art world and than later celebrated as one of the There generations greatest artists. Each painting is subjective to what the viewer perceives it to be and is a representation of the particular artist’s thoughts feelings and ideas at the time of the painting.
For instance, Marc’ painting of the blue horses portrays his love for animals, while Basquiat’s painting shows his feelings about his environment and the government during the time of his painting. Each artist created images that force the viewers’ eyes all over the painting never allowing them to focus on what spot. They where truly masters of there craft and will forever be remembered by the art world as true Artistic Geniuses.