Meaning?

Posted by on Apr 25, 2020 in Blog, Inspiration | 2 Comments

Recently I was lucky enough to meet up with two old friends from art college. We’d lost touch for decades so it was quite a shake-up, albeit a lovely one. My website was found and paintings looked at. Pam said ‘Do they have a meaning?’ I didn’t have a reply then, but of course they don’t have a meaning, not one that I could define at any rate. I’ve noticed how  galleries like it if an artist says, ‘This work represents my fascination with ‘ ships/geometry/data storage (!)’, etc. The point is that such paintings are the result of intellectual effort and intention. I call these ‘head paintings’. My paintings tell you straight away they are not the result of any such preparation.  They’re not-head paintings .

I was looking at the work of Lee Krasner over the last week. Till a few years ago all I knew about her was she’d been married to Jackson Pollock. But she was already known by the time he came onto  the New York School scene.  Her later work is a fine example of abstract expressionism, it’s also very feminine in its huge fertile shapes and gestures. It drips fecundity, is always free-flowing and marvellously coloured. 

Lee Krasner Portrait
There is such a good self portrait from when she was very young 
but this photo sums up her essence, according to what little I’ve learned
from listening to her

There’s a filmed interview she gave in 1982 near the end of her life where she explains that she always began her paintings with no idea of where she’s going – ‘..and there’s nothing more horrifying than a blank canvas!’.  She’d make a few brush strokes across the canvas to get rid of the blankness and the marks suggested some further action, and so on.  You can tell that at that stage ‘Meaning’ never entered her mind. How can you plan meaning?  Real meaning, that is, that doesn’t come from the level of ordinary thought.  Once Lee Krasner got into her stride she’d have transcended that level and been caught up in the moment, obeying its needs.

She must have had great courage. Her work is still new and exciting. It’s for us to notice what its meaning is. I don’t find that easy;  I mean, it may entail being up where Krasner was while painting.

She talks of her discovery of collages in one of the videos.  The first ones were from that original torn paper but after she says she used paintings on canvas to cut up.
Porcelain, oil on canvas
Milkweed
The Power of the Sun

In the News section I’ll give the titles of the best videos on Krasner in case you want to see for yourself.  If they aren’t listed they are still there for the asking.

2 Comments

  1. pippa radon
    May 1, 2020

    love this mum – congrats.
    her work is intense and strong – filled with passion intent and conviction.

    I wonder hw she felt being in the shadow of Pollack
    ?

  2. Anne van Amstel
    June 4, 2020

    Dear Gregor,

    Thank you so much for introducing me to the work of Lee Krasner. I love it. As I do your work – no ‘head paintings’, for certain! They have a poetic quality that I highly admire and appreciate. Thank you for having allowed me the privilege of visiting your studio at several occasions. And how wonderful your garden must look at this time of year! As testified by your ‘End of May’ painting.

    Yours,
    Anne

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