The New York School of artists faced unbridled criticism from patrons, gallerists, older established artists, and critics as they individually responded to a new, vital energy now prevalent in Greenwich Village. A fervor, if you will, for greater freedom of expression portending creative change!
The color filed practitioners, led by Mark Rothko, cast a solid shadow over the Abstract Expressionists looking to Rothko for leadership and mentoring. Barnett Newman, a native New Yorker who studied at the fabled/famed Art Students League, was a major contributor to the color field realm of painters in Greenwich Village. Newman focused his studio practice around an existential tone/content where his compositions emphasized intentionality, locality, physical presence, a shadow of contingency, and possessed powerful communication pathways.
Describing his point of entrance into the color field realm of A E, Barnett Newman wrote:
“The Kwakiutl artist painting on a hide did not concern himself with the inconsequential that made up the opulent social rivalries of the Northwest Coast Indian scene, no did he, in the name of the higher purity, renounce the living world for the meaningless materialism of design. The abstract shape he used, his entire plastic language, was directed by a ritualistic will towards metaphysical understanding.”
As you examine the uploaded images by Barnett Newman in this blog posting, what are your insights, thoughts, and curiosities when you read the following thoughts by Newman: “Any art worthy of its name should address life, man(woman), nature, death and tragedy.” Do you see these ideas addressed in the images or in the existential realm within which Newman is exploring?
Barnett Newman, Concord, 1949