Blast I, 1957
As I continue to grow interested in developing my own form of visual writing, another artist that I look to for inspiration is the later work of Adolph Gottlieb. Now on one hand I do find Gottlieb’s earlier work – his pictographs – interesting because of how he filled them with “universal symbols” of his own creation (theartstory.com). I took this to mean that he was interested in interpreting the grand and overlaying stories/concepts of the world in his own form of visualization. To that end I am very much interested in his work, such his painting, Man Looking at Woman. This type of painting is also interesting to me because it is done in such a primitive style that it looks as if it could be interpreted by any group of people, however, because Gottlieb put his own imagery into the biomorphic forms, the work becomes more personal.
However, as my own writings become more visual in nature and plays off of the surrounding images and text that I am looking to “reinterpret” I find Gottlieb’s latter, Burst paintings to be more within the mood and look of what I am trying to create with my own work. For example, in his painting Blast I (1957), Gottlieb uses huge strokes of paint and color to establish a mood for the piece and for the viewer to experience, all without any discernable, direct imagery (Wilkin 16). With these paintings, Gottlieb focuses solely on color and form, which I find myself more and more interested in; line and shape as portraying a mood or feeling, as opposed to directly spelling something out for the viewer to feel. However, I do think it is interesting that Gottlieb’s paintings really exist on their own, there is no real background or backing imagery, which is very different then how I want to create my next works, which are based solely on a preexisting text, which will serve as the basis for my works. So it will be important for myself, as I progress with this work, to understand that there must be a balance between the marks that I make, their relationship to each other and the relationship to the original document.
Man Looking at Woman
Wilkin, Karen. Color as Field: American Painting 1950-1975. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007. Print.