Arts & Architecture

Abstract Newsletter, Issue 18

Featuring Clyfford Still and Christian Hetzel.
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  Issue 18January 10, 2011 Abstract Expressionism: ClyffordStill (1904 - 1980) Clyfford Still was born November 30,1904, in Grandin, North Dakota. Heattended Spokane University inWashington for a year in 1926 andagain from 1931 to 1933. Aftergraduation, he taught at WashingtonState College in Pullman until 1941.Still spent the summers of 1934 and1935 at the Trask Foundation (nowYaddo) in Saratoga Springs, New York.From 1941 to 1943, he worked indefense factories in California. In1943, his first solo show took place atthe San Francisco Museum of Art, andhe met Mark Rothko in Berkeley at thistime. The same year, Still moved toRichmond, where he taught at theRichmond Professional Institute.When Still was in New York in 1945,Rothko introduced him to PeggyGuggenheim, who gave him a soloexhibition at her Art of This Centurygallery in early 1946. Later that year,the artist returned to San Francisco,where he taught for the next fouryears at the California School of FineArts. Solo exhibitions of his work wereheld at the Betty Parsons Gallery, NewYork, in 1947, 1950, and 1951 and atthe California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, in 1947. In NewYork in 1948, Still worked with Rothkoand others on developing the conceptof the school that became known asthe Subjects of the Artist. He resettledin San Francisco for two years beforereturning again to New York. A Stillretrospective took place at theAlbright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NewYork, in 1959. In 1961, he settled onhis farm near Westminster, Maryland.Solo exhibitions of Still’s paintingswere presented by the Institute of Contemporary Art of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1963and at the Marlborough-GersonGallery, New York, in 1969–70. Hereceived the Award of Merit forPainting in 1972 from the AmericanAcademy of Arts and Letters, of whichhe became a member in 1978, and theSkowhegan Medal for Painting in 1975.Also in 1975, a permanent installationof a group of his works opened at theSan Francisco Museum of Modern Art.The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NewYork, gave him an exhibition in 1980.Still died June 23 of that same year inBaltimore.  Featured Artist: Art Hetart,Germany  Going under the internet name ArtHetart is Christian Hetzel. He wasborn in 1965 in Mannheim. He iscurrently in the healthcare field. I wascaptivated by his mature style and themulti-layered effect of hiscompositions.He has painted since his childhood,first as a boy with realistic pencildrawings, and later in his youth he didsurreal geometric and graphical pencildrawings. In 1986, he did his firstabstract high-contrasting colourcompositions with tempera on paper.In the he early 1990s Hetzel resumedabstract painting with predominantlygeometric and cubistic colourcompositions. In 1995 and 1996 hehad his first group and singleexhibitions. Following this period, heproduced highly structured surfaces innew formats with plaster as the basefor the abstract structure and colorcompositions.He is inspired by the minimalistic andharmonious works of Rothko and alsothe abstract paintings from G. Richterfrom the 80s and 90s.His work is not strictly planned, thereis no predefined intent for hispaintings. He seeks to trigger theviewers own creativity and emotionalunderstanding. He says, “Art shouldnot establish academic interpretationsand be pushed in a drawer. Art shouldtrigger the creativity of each viewerand it should promote his or her ownnatural instincts.” He has no favourites among his work.Each of his paintings document histhinking and intent during the date of creation, and each painting had andhas its time to exist. From today'sperspective his first abstract colourcompositions in the mid 80s are partlymore amateur and free paintings. Onlyafter a renewed attempt at painting inthe mid 90s was he satisfied withimpulsive and colourful paintings, andlater quieter nature and sand-colouredabstract structure and colourcompositions.His works since 2009 focuses on theprocess of creation which is morecomplex than in earlier times. He hasincreased frequency of adding andremoving colours in the painting andit takes more time to get a perfectresult.For his technique, he tries all kinds of mediums and material (watercolour,tempra, gouche, acrylics, pigment)and painting-grounds (canvas,different backgrounds, paper, woodenbackgrounds).He also likes self-prepared strongstructured surfaces made from cementor plaster. Most of his currentpaintings are made with acrylic oncanvas. He uses wipe and brush tools.I encourage you tocheck out his work.  What I’ve Been Up to Lately: Since the garage is so cold, I havebeen working on small abstracts onpaper. That allows me to keepcreating while not freezing in thegarage. I want to do large paintings,but I can't get into painting when I amwearing three layers. Two moremonths of cold. Argh.Black White, 8.5 x 11 on paperSince I wrote this I have used spaceheaters in the garage and have beenable to do a couple of paintings so far,for neighbors for x-mas. One is called “Encroachment” because of how thecolors coming in from the edgesgradually intrude on the center. Myneighbor sees mountains and water inthe painting. It's always interesting tohear other people's interpretation of my work.Encroachment, 30 x 30, acrylic oncanvas.The other painting is “Rebirth”, which Ipainted before I took my work to arestaurant to be displayed for sale.They took 11 paintings; it is all that isdecorating the restaurant right now.He will be rotating artists. I am notthat hopeful, since this restaurantmostly caters to retirees, but anythingis worth a try. I keep waiting for thatright moment.Rebirth, 24 x 48, acrylic on canvas.  Poem of the Month: i like the smell of houses being builttubes of caulking oozingtheir contentsblue flags the phone companydidn’t want you to stealdrywall that writes like chalkskeleton of what is goneand promises of what will bedirt and dreams soonto be past and visionsof my mind Quote of the Month: The only time I feel alive is when I'mpainting.-Vincent Van GoghCeleste J.
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