Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Big Art

What is it with Big Art?  What is so compelling and exciting about seeing an idea wrought in an over-sized image?
Sean Scully

Cy Twonbly

Robert Motherwell

I mean, Sean Scully does STRIPES.  Lots of stripes.  BIG stripes.  They are gorgeous.  How much of the impact of those images has to do with scale?  Ditto Cy Twombly's vast canvases of scribbles and marks?  Why is it so exciting to see Motherwell painting with a long brush from a standing position?

Just my thought for the day.  I welcome your comments an insights.

11 comments:

  1. I agree with you ..... there is something wonderful about seeing someone standing and creating big circles or big stripes. :) Why l have no idea! ha! Lynda

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  2. If I am misinterpreting, Jane, you will have to set the record straight, but it seems to me you are developing a size obsession. If you have places to show and store large canvases, go for it! If it is something that keeps itching you at mind level, scratch! You don't seem to question urges for long--you just jump in and try things. Why is this inquiry into LARGE WORK any different?

    I remember once having a short discussion with you about using cheap paper (on Flickr, I believe). It was very freeing for me to just accept that I liked working with cheap paper and would explore that until I was satisfied or felt I should try something else. You validated my cheap paper exploration quite nicely.

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    1. Ha!! YES! You are right. I'm obsessing about size, AND I am insecure about working so small when I LOVE the presence of large work. Don't worry, I'm getting there. Yesterday I poured - yes, POURED - paint, from a quart can, onto a 3'x3' canvas.

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  3. Thanks for these images.....I agree, it is very satisfying to see large scale paintings. I, too have been painting a bit larger lately and, to my surprise, actually found it easier to paint bigger. Perhaps the draw is a subconscious return to a time when pencils, crayons and paper were all huge because we were so small or maybe a genetic memory of painting on cave walls!

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    1. REALLY? You are finding it easier? I want what YOU are having! You may be onto something about the subconscious return to childhood or the genetic memory of painting on walls. Thanks for these thoughts.

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  4. for me larger means bigger gestures, more physicality to it. We could wield brooms dipped in ink.
    3x3 is humongous for you!

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  5. for me larger means bigger gestures, more physicality to it. We could wield brooms dipped in ink.
    3x3 is humongous for you!

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  6. I took an online class last year (my first painting class ever!) where we were told to use large canvases (minimum 3'x3' or 4'x4' or larger). I didn't have room at the time so started with 2'x2' and quickly realized I would like to work on the larger sizes. I completed about 6 2'x2' canvases and then started on some larger ones when I had an art studio to work in. I only managed to get a few layers of mark making on 4 larger canvases as I was just experimenting and fooling around on them. What's funny is that when people come to my studio they prefer these incomplete large canvases over the complete smaller ones. Perhaps in this case, bigger is better...

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    1. Wow! That is so interesting, Rita. I wonder if your smaller pieces look overworked COMPARED to the "unfinished" large ones. Do you have a website where I could see your work?

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    2. I don't but I can email some pictures you privately. I'd be interested in your thoughts.

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  7. Someone e-mailed me this comment, which I thought you'd like to read. With permission, I post it here:

    Large scale works seem to create an "environment", or envelopment. Much like scenery in a play. Your very own place or atmosphere to enter into. The scale giving you the ability to almost walk into your painting. Artists would dig that. I'm sure there's psychology to large scale, but I'd pay more attention to the feelings there rather than the psychology there.

    I have not done large scale, but I think I'd feel a little humbled and diminished (in a good way). I've seen some of Rothko's large scale and they just suck you in and blow you away at the same time. (which was probably his intention.)

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