Direction VI - 2008 - 49 x 97 in (124 x 246 cm) - mixed media on canvas
This painting has a special place for me as it represents how wonderful it can be when a composition succeeds through the reductive process.
The seed of the painting is to convey movement as purely as possible without any superfluous markings or information. This can be very challenging, for it is not simplification just through omission and reduction. It is striving to have the viewer connect and participate at the primal level. Arranging and rearranging the markings until I respond is genuinely exhilarating. and It always seems to be a circuitous route..
Those small dancing angles are an invitation to engage and they may represent anything the viewer wishes. The colours and textures are open as well, and it is my hope the painting invites a different response with every visit.
I should mention a very important structural consideration. Note how the bottom edge of the light area curves upward at the right. To support this movement I provided a parallel line just above. This is very important for the composition and is meant to be felt more than seen.
I would like to share another detail which I feel is the finishing touch to the painting. When my eye comes to where the blue intrudes slightly into the light texture, gently holding me briefly, I smile. (see detail) The best notes appear when we are responding to the painting.
We artists put ourselves through a great deal to arrive where we initially intended, and to be truthful that place can be elusive.
Giorgio Morandi - Still Life - 1920 - 50 x 52 cm - oil on canvas
Giorgio Morandi - Still Life - 1958-oil - 36 x 41 cm - oil on canvas
Morandi’s path is a wonderful study of searching for the essential through restriction of the subject matter. I admire his discipline and the sophistication of his mature work.
Like most of us, his early work was focused on developing figurative skills. Now when he began conveying the essence of the subject matter is difficult to say and of course it happens over time and study. He was well educated in the wonderful considerations in modern painting, and connected to seeking the prime in things.
Here we have two still life paintings thirty eight years apart, which clearly shows his evolution through reduction. Morandi’s focus in his 1920 Still Life (which has a Cezanne influence) was depiction. This is perfectly fine and time honoured. He has allowed some distortion but representing the objects is the intent. We take in the objects, we see but we don’t feel their relationships.
In his 1958 painting his considerations are very different. We instantly connect or “feel” the relationships of the objects. Why is that? I’m not going to impose my analysis on you. I would rather you feel the painting, as I do, and permit yourself time to embrace Morandi’s sensitivity. What is important to know is that Morandi’s understood “primitivism” which is the connection to our prime.
A very sophisticated consideration and I find It truly wonderful how the connection deepens each time I visit his mature paintings. .