Abstract Expressionism is making its comeback within the art world. Coined as an artist movement in the 1940’s and 1950’s, at the New York School, American Abstract Expressionist began to express many ideas relevant to humanity and the world around human civilization. However, the subject matters, contributing to artists, were not meant to represent the ever-changing world around them. Rather, how the world around them affected the artist themselves. The works swayed by such worldly influences, become an important article within the artists’ pieces. Subjectively, looking inward to express the artist psyche, artists within the Abstract Expressionism movement became a part of their paintings. Making the paintings more of a representation of one’s self.
This notion of Abstract Expressionism has become an interesting factor between the Contemporary arts making of Abstract arts, specifically paintings. When approaching Artworks from Contemporary Abstract painters, the subject matter dives deeper in meaning than the actual artwork before the viewer. From an outward appearance, some paintings from artist, such as, James Little, juxtaposed to works by Odili Donald Odita, have a lot of formal similarities within the uses of geometrical shapes and balancing colors. However, understanding the means to why each artist paints the way they do, will actually become rather different from first approaching and accessing the paintings.
The exhibition, Same but Different: Not Seen from the Naked eye, investigates the deeper meanings between similar art pieces. Some older masterpieces from Barnett Newman and Mondrian are also present within the enclosed venue. However, the selected pieces from the old Modern Artists are in relevance to the Contemporary Artist present within the show. These Contemporary Artists mentioned are Torben Giehler, James Little, Odili Donald Odita, and Mark Grotjahn.
In comparison to the Modern Artist Barnett Newman, Mark Grotjahn’s paintings have similar formal decisions to His predecessor. In Mark Grotjahn’s works, the outward appearance of his butterfly pieces might resemble similar formal concepts from Barnet Newman’s paintings. A likeness, present within Grotjahn and Newman’s paintings, is the vertical line bisecting the canvas. Which Barnett Newman coins this aesthetic a “zip”, or the use of a single vertical band .
However, the semblance between the two artists stops there. As Barnett Newman’s initial influences within his paintings such as, Onement, 1 1948 (Fig. 1), derive from his religious backgrounds of Judaism and the ancient text of the Kabbalah , Grotjahn’s inspirations are completely different. The true meaning behind Grotjahn’s paintings is inspired by nature
Using natural phenomenon as a starting point for abstraction, Mark Grotjahn’s paintings straddle the polarities of artifice and nature. His painting, Lavender Butterfly Jacaranda over Green (Fig. 2), expresses his fascination with nature. Transferring the...