"Putting the Word Out: Blackstraction" (excerpt from performance 2000 - 2011)

 “Putting the Word Out: Blackstraction” (excerpt from performance 2000 – 2011)

Modernism is defined as an art movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries characterized by deliberate departure from tradition and the use of innovative forms of expression that distinguish many styles in the arts and literature thereafter. Modernism refers to this period’s interest in:
                -new types of paints and other materials
                -expressing feelings, ideas, fantasies and dreams instead of reality
                -creating abstractions instead of representing what is real
                -rejection of naturalistic color
                -a use of choppy clearly visible brushstrokes
                -the acceptance of line, form, color and process as valid subject matter
                -the audience taking a more active role as interpreter…
Modernism could be defined as the exposure and influence of African and Oceanic tribal art on European artists. Considered unrefined and unexplainable, this creative expression was beyond the realm of recognized knowledge in the age of reason. It bought forth questions, what is [painting]? What is [art]?

If Malevich’s abstraction rid us of subject and Kandinsky gave us absolute painting and modernism every style since, contemporary interrogation of abstract painting will center on this same issue: what is painting? Its’ role irrevocably altered and undefined after Modernism, two things happened: painting without pigment was “born” while pigment painting became process and subject.

Process painting (abstraction) requires inducing the visual fundamentals of an artist’s encounter with materials thru texture, form, shape, and color (methodology) without reference to physical reality. Abstraction in [art] is a language of our time, drawing on its’ ability to be molded and to self-modify based on shared knowledge within a designated group. Without boundary between what is real and what is imaginary, American artists explored “pure” aesthetics: what is painting… what is abstraction… what is art…

Jackson Pollock, influenced by Native American sand paintings, began pouring paint in the 1940’s. In the late 50’s and early 60’s, Frank Stella raised paintings from the wall and gave them shape while Robert Ryman concentrated on the act of painting itself. Later in the 60’s Sam Gilliam went beyond painting draping the Corcoran’s walls. In 1973, Al Loving began tearing his minimalist paintings in strips and sewing them back together shaping the work as he went then suspending the object “freestyle” when completed. Later, in the 70’s Gilliam began to sculpt color while maintaining the basic integrity of painting.

Using these and other 20th century methodologies, blackstractionists make markings with pigment/color on diverse surfaces that relate to each other and their environment in two and three dimensions to meld object, painting and process…  seemingly meaningless yet significantly beautiful, enigmatic and as exotic as the tribal objects that inspired Modernism… the ultimate thing of beauty, an objet d’art…

blackstraction (blak-strak’ sh-n) n.
a) the objectification of abstract painting b) nonrepresentational drawings and paintings stressing formal internal relationships at times employing craft techniques and three dimensional presentation. 
V.t. the objectification of  painting. blackstractionist n. an artist engaging therein…
blackstraction (blak-strak’ sh-n) v.t.
to make markings with color on diverse surfaces that relate to each other and their environment in two and three dimensions   blackstractioned, blackstractioning
Blackstractionism (blak-strak’sh-niz-m) n. Fine Arts
        a style of emotive non-representational painting which appeared in the United States in the late 20th century employing craft techniques and sometimes three dimensional presentation  b) theory and practice of blackstraction

(pass the word on: Blackstraction!)

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