Esteemed thinker: Pablo Picasso

newspaperEvery evening when the news is about to be reported on the television, the program begins with a jingle of music, just a few notes… notes which really translate to mean “here comes gloom”. These pre-program notes, though simply intended as a prompt, have sorrowfully become a conditioned stimulus that produces the conditioned response…dread… Admittedly, it is a good example of “classical conditioning” for it seems that just the word “news” punctuates a negative connotation, so much so that we even have adopted the saying, “No news is Good news!”

However, news has always been of interest regardless of the method of delivery. What has become dramatically universal is the current cross-over between entertainment, gossip, and authentic news. Although some television programs call themselves “news shows” one soon has only to discover this may just be part of the name… where information is formatted in a one-sided set of opinions that are biased or lacking in full disclosure… (all under the guise of ‘the news’).

Yellow journalism, a term coined in 1898, was based upon sensationalism and crude exaggeration to sell newspapers. However, one has to think, are we still stuck in the days of jaundice, for apparently one needs a dose of quinine to get through some t.v. programs touted as “News”.

PABLO-PICASSO- Today’s blog introduces one of the most renowned artists of all time, the esteemed thinker: Pablo Picasso (b. Spain 1881-1975). Picasso dominated the 20th century Western Art, spreading his influence beyond art into many aspects of culture and life.

In 1914 he and other artists produced collages with made of complex materials imitating the effects of painting in dense arrangements of cut and pasted papers. During that time newspapers were printed on cheap, wood-pulp paper stock that rapidly darkened and became brittle when exposed to air and sunlight. Picasso used newsprint fragments cut from them in many of his papiers collés and paintings and, occasionally, as supports for drawings.
Associated with pioneering Cubism, alongside Georges Braque, he made major contributions to Symbolism and Surrealism. Painter, sculpture, printmaker, his legacy lives on.

Not wishing to belabor the idea of news, one has to ponder if just perhaps Picasso too found “news” intriguing with his collage titled Guitar (Spring 1913). Made from cut-and-pasted newspaper, wallpaper, paper, ink, chalk, charcoal, and pencil on colored paper enjoy his entertaining and thought provoking work.

Picasso_collage Guitar

First image: Hine, Lewis Wickes, photographer, Published: 1910 May.

Esteemed thinker: Vasily Kandinsky

In a most literal term abstraction is an idea that is unrealistic, visionary, and impractical. We know it in the form of mathematics and more readily engage it in art. Abstract art is often either liked or disliked, for there seems to be very little middle ground. Rarely does a viewer walk past an abstract painting without giving it some sort of critique; sometimes positive and sometimes not.

How challenging it must have been or continues to be for those artists who claim they have created an “abstract painting” for actually, the mind does not wish to permit such an event to exist. For no matter how hard one tries, the mind wishes to make order out of what it sees. When we come upon an abstract painting hanging on the museum wall we seem always to attempt to make a comparison of the content to something else that makes “sense”. For no matter how hard we try, there is something or other that the mind equates it to… “it looks like a sunset,” “it looks like a man”… Those wiggly lines, unbalanced figures, and simple canvases are no challenge for our mind rearranges them, looking in its files under similarities until it comes upon one that conjures up its “concrete mate”.

And so we must wonder if there really is anything that is purely abstract … for our minds will not rest until it finds some structure and balance to this thing we call abstraction…

Wassily_Kandinsky-ca_1913Today’s post brings us the esteemed thinker: Vasily Kandinsky (b. Moscow 1866–1944) painter, printmaker, stage designer, artist and theorist. His name in the art world brought to the 20th century a transition of representational art into abstract expressionism. Kandinsky attracted anything intellectual, restless, striving, which was in the world of art of that time. In 1901 he founded Phalanx, an art group, in Munich and started a school, in which he taught himself.

In 1913, Kandinsky coined the expression “nonobjective painting” to refer to a painting that depicted no recognizable objects. Considered one of the most influential artists Kandinsky is often credited with creating the first purely non-objective painting.

I now bring to you to you a most famous work, Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 4 (1914), one of four in a series of canvasses commissioned by Edwin R. Campbell, founder of Chevrolet Motor Company. Take some time to ponder this extraordinary work, and I wonder where your mind sends you!

Kandinsky painting 1914 panel