I’ve been reading quite a bit about Action Painting and Color Field Painting in relation to the mechanics of visual perception in the human brain. Eric Kandel’s book Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures tells this fascinating story.
As I understand it, the concept underlying both Action Painting (as in the paintings of Jackson Pollock) and Color Field Painting (typified by Mark Rothko and Morris Louis) is the elimination of recognizable figures. With the elimination of identifiable forms, the brain’s higher centers continually seek to make sense out of the randomness of the visual sensations. The brain of the ‘beholder’ (see yesterday’s post) brings prior experiences to bear on the novel stimuli before it.
That is the enjoyment of abstract art: it provides the opportunity to use one’s imagination.
My watercolor below, does not eliminate figuration. I used today’s painting to experiment with color. I am fascinated by the way that the earth tone, quinacridone nickel, mixes with the cooler colors. Below I use Prussian blue, cobalt blue and mauve as centers of color and surround them yellow-toned earth tone to see what happens.
In the future I have two avenues I would like to continue exploring: the elimination of form, which I have done in some of my previous paintings; the abstracting of the essence of objects of interest in order to portray at least one truth about them.