Solitude and silence
I need solitude and silence: I go to London. The solitude is easy – the chances of meeting anyone you know are very slim. Silence? I pondered my definition on the bus. It’s probably about being able to let my thoughts flow, knowing I won’t be disturbed by others nor by my own mental undercurrent of ‘what do the people around me need/want next?’ The only hunger, fatigue, blather or emotions that interrupt me are my own.
So, to the Abstract Expressionism exhibition that’s been on my list for ages. I loved seeing several Pollocks on the wall together and getting close: precision, scale! Ad Reinhardt’s mesmerising ‘black’ paintings, and his technique for removing reflectivity from the paint so that they were as pure explorations of black as possible, tapped straight into my preoccupation with what colour is. I looked. (They’re not photographable but for an approximation google 'Ad Reinhardt black' and click on images – I tried to link but it won't).
(On another wall was one dark picture of a pond that now haunts me but I don’t remember the painter or title – if you know, please tell me).
It was the few photographs, added to the abstract expressionist ‘movement’ more recently, since at the time few people saw photography as art, that made me think about two quite different forms of abstract. The photographs, probably inevitably, were abstractions from something concrete (some of us discussed this in comments here) e.g. the form made by a long exposure of a dancer holding a light, or apparently random light variations on water. Some of the paintings were similar abstractions, notably de Kooning’s women. But other paintings were abstract expressions of an idea or emotion with no connection to the representational, such as Jackson Pollock’s lines (despite titles such as Blue Poles), Mark Rothko’s bands of colour, Barnet Newman’s geometries, Robert Motherwell’s forms. Although the completed canvases may come near each other in the middle, the sources of these varied abstract expressions are almost opposite.
So, back to what abstract photography is...
Homage to Pollock
Homage to Motherwell and others
Homage to Arachne
Solitude in London
This is the end of my fifth year. It marks three turning points:
- I sometimes wonder whether my pictures are too sombre. They are certainly more muted than most blips and I know that most people don't look into interesting dark places. But - thanks, Ad Reinhardt - I'm going to continue with my own preoccupations and I warmly invite in anyone who happens to be interested.
- Stars. Not being able to see easily what they are for removes their meaning for me. Please don't feel you need to give me any and please don't be hurt if I don't use them.
- Pictures, and words, or silence.
I wish everyone a happy, peaceful and creative 2017.
- Olympus E-M5MarkII