Posts Tagged ‘Abstract’

“By Chance I Met Barnett Newman on a Streetcorner: Fuck You Greenberg” (Found Photograph, 1997)

Saturday, December 20th, 1997

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“Newman’s paintings look easy to copy, and maybe they really are. But they are far from easy to conceive, and their quality and meaning lies almost exactly in their conception… The onlooker who says his child could paint a Newman may be right, but Newman would have to be there to tell the child exactly what to do. The exact choices of color, medium, size, proportion – including the size and shape of the support – are what alone determines the quality of the result, and these choices depend solely on inspiration or conception.” (Clement Greenberg, After Abstract Expressionism, 1962)

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“The Last Days of Sumer” (Vivid on A4, 1998, in the collection of Alexander Greenhough)

Monday, December 21st, 1998


The very first piece of ‘serious’ visual art I ever did, after reading a book of interviews with Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman on a bright summer’s day while living at a University flat on Fairlie Terrace in Wellington. I did another piece in blue vivid on the same day, which has subsequently been lost.

“When painters feel the need to make a shift toward self-discovery, they turn to black and white for a time.” (Barnett Newman)

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“Round [Black Holes Ain’t So Black]” (Photocopies, 1999)

Wednesday, December 1st, 1999

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“The lower the mass of the black hole, the higher its temperature. So as the black hole loses mass, its temperature and rate of emission increase, so it loses mass more quickly. What happens when the mass of the black hole eventually becomes extremely small is not quite clear, but the most reasonable guess is that it would disappear completely in a tremendous final burst of emission, equivalent to the explosion of millions of H-bombs.” (Stephen Hawking)

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“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us “universe,” a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of our consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” (Albert Einstein)

Variations on these photocopy works were included in the exhibition “Dick Whyte: Retrospective” (91 Aro Street Gallery, Wellington, 2005).

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“Squares [This Is Not A Black Square]” (Photocopies, 1999)

Thursday, December 2nd, 1999

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“When, in the year 1913, in my desperate attempt to free art from the ballast of objectivity, I took refuge in the square form and exhibited a picture which consisted of nothing more than a black square on a white field, the critics and, along with them, the public sighed, ‘Everything which we loved is lost. We are in a desert… Before us is nothing but a black square on a white background!'” (Kazimir Malevich)

Variations on these photocopy works were included in the exhibition “Dick Whyte: Retrospective” (91 Aro Street Gallery, Wellington, 2005).

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“1440: The Smooth and the Striated” (Ballpoint pen on A4, 2005)

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

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“It seems to us that the Smooth is both the object of a close vision par excellence and the element of a haptic space (which may be as much visual or auditory as tactile). The Striated, on the contrary , relates to a more distant vision, and a more optical space – although the eye in turn is not the only organ to have this capacity. Once again, as always, this analysis must be corrected by a coefficient of transformation according to which passages between the striated and the smooth are at once necessary and uncertain, and all the more disruptive. The law of the painting is that it be done at close range, even if it is viewed from relatively far away. One can back away from a thing, but it is a bad painter who backs away from the painting he or she is working on… Cezanne spoke of the need to no longer see the wheat field, to be too close to it, to lose oneself without landmarks in smooth space. Afterward, striation can emerge: drawing, strata, the earth, ‘stubborn geometry’, the ‘measure of the world’… The striated itself may in turn disappear in a ‘catastrophe’, opening the way for a new smooth space, and another striated space…” (Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p544)

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“August” (Photographs, 2005)

Saturday, December 10th, 2005

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“First. Those whose relation to their objects is a mere community in some quality, and these representations may be termed Likenesses. Second. Those whose relation to their objects consists in a correspondence in fact, and these may be termed Indices or Signs. Third. Those the ground of whose relation to their objects is an imputed character, which are the same as general signs, and these may be termed Symbols.” (C.S. Peirce, On A New Set of Categories)

“C.S. Peirce, whose great importance for the classification of images and signs we have already noted, distinguished between two sorts of images which he called ‘Firstness’ and ‘Secondness’… Peirce does not conceal the fact that firstness is difficult to define, because it is felt, rather than conceived: it concerns what is new in experience, what is fresh, fleeting and nevertheless eternal… Secondness was wherever there were two by themselves: what is what it is in relation to a second. Everything which only exists by being opposed, by and in a duel, therefore belongs to secondness: exertion-resistance, action-reaction, excitation-response, situation-behaviour, individual-milieu… It is the category of the Real, of the actual, of the existing, of the individuated… After having distinguished between affection and action, which he calls Firstness and Secondness, Peirce adds a third kind of image: the ‘mental’ or Thirdness. The point of thirdness was a term that referred to a second term through the intermediary of another term or terms. This third instance appeared in signification, law or relation. This may seem to be already included in action, but this is not so. An action, that is to say a duel or a pair of forces, obeys laws which make it possible, but it is never its law which makes it act.” (Gilles Deleuze, The Movement Image)

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“November 28, 1947: How do you make yourself a body without organs?” (Pen and vivid on A4, 2005)

Monday, December 12th, 2005

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“At any rate, you have one (or several). It’s not so much that it preexists or comes ready-made, although in certain respects it is preexistent. At any rate, you make one, you can’t desire without making one. And it awaits you; it is an inevitable exercise or experimentation, already accomplished the moment you undertake it, unaccomplished as long as you don’t. This is not assuring, because you can botch it. Or it can be terrifying, and lead you to your death. It is nondesire as well as desire. It is not at all a notion or a concept but a practice, a set of practices. You never reach the Body without Organs, you can’t reach it, you are forever attaining it, it is a limit. People ask, So what is this BwO?—But you’re already on it, scurrying like a vermin, groping like a blind person, or running like a lunatic: desert traveler and nomad of the steppes. On it we sleep, live our waking lives, fight—fight and are fought—seek our place, experience untold happiness and fabulous defeats; on it we penetrate and are penetrated; on it we love. On November 28, 1947, Artaud declares war on the organs: To be done with the judgment of God, “for you can tie me up if you wish, but there is nothing more useless than an organ.”‘ Experimentation: not only radiophonic but also biologi cal and political, incurring censorship and repression. Corpus and Socius politics and experimentation. They will not let you experiment in peace.” (Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus)

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“Who’s Afraid of Barnett Newman?” (Digital Painting, 2008)

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

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“It is not difficult to see how Greenberg’s own program for color-field painting and his ideas on the development of modernism leave little room for an explanation of Newman’s zips. In effect, they are the elements which support Greenberg’s ideas the least. In the rare cases when he describes the zips, he does so briefly and asserts that Newman’s art is not really geometrical and that there are other, less noticeable factors that are more important to an interpretation of his work.” (Samantha Krukowski, Was Greenberg Blind to Barnett Newman’s Zips?)

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“Matrix IV [Atari 8-Bit Remix]” (Video Art, 2010)

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

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Avant-garde sequel to John Whitney’s “Matrix III (1972) made out of found footage of Atari computers, sourced from YouTube. First screened (in edited form) as part of the Hamilton Underground Film Festival (HUFF) curated by Emit Snake-Beings (Waikato Museum of Art and History, November 13th, 2010).

“We may assume that a time will come when that which I am about to describe will name itself—but for now: ‘Computational periodics’ is a propositional and tentative term which may help to designate a new unified field for a heterodimensional art; a field whose special dimension is time. An art which is temporal, as music itself; being, that is, spatio-temporal. An art whose time has come because of computer technology and an art which could not exist before the computer. Even though this art will be found in the notebooks of Leonardo and has been in the collective imagination, like the flying-machine, since his epoch it was a technological impossibility until the development of computer graphics.” (John Whitney, Computational Periodicals)

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