30 May, 2008

Art Education

Yellow Trees, Blue Forest
9" x 7"
Casey Klahn

It was a great joy to receive the following question from a second grade teacher located in Mexico:

Hi. I would like to know what do you think about the idea of Rockwell of painting Pollock’s in his.

I am teaching 2nd graders about Pollock and I have found it more complex that just dripping!

My reply:

Thank you for the question.

Maybe you saw my post about an image named The Connoisseur that Norman Rockwell did of the well heeled museum patron in front of a Jackson Pollock painting.

I have a special affinity for NR, as I studied art via the Norman Rockwell Famous Artist's Course for Talented Young People when I was not much older than your second graders. He deserves the renewed interest that the art public is giving him, in my opinion.

On your question. What artist doesn't want to be liked for their artwork? Certainly there was a great deal of "artistic courage" that both of these famous artists exhibited.

NR was big enough in his heart to portray the wholly different painting style of the emerging super artist Jackson Pollock, and at the same time doing this with irony and humor. That was his trademark.

I don't see him passing any negative judgment in his painting, and as far as the art side of it is concerned, the man stands in the middle bottom of the painting, almost like a tree trunk whose canopy is the abstract painting. A wonderful idea, and difficult to pull off. Not at all following strict compositional rules. His talent in composing a painting is on show, here. That's irony, too!

JP had obvious "artistic courage" by not using regular oil paint or regular brushes or even regular primed canvases. He didn't use the easel, either. He was changing everything about painting, or as many things as he could think of to do.

As a contemporary artist, I have been given permission by JP to do more kinds of things to express my art than before he "broke" all those art rules. I choose to repeat my compositions over and over again, to make the point that the colors are the "meaning", not the trees. I like to get rid of "depth", so hammered into my brain by the great Norman Rockwell school. That reminds me (and maybe you, the viewer) that after all, you are looking at a painting about: color.


Casey Klahn


Yellow said...

Casey, fantastic reply. I used to hate JP when I was younger, as I was totally into representational art at the time and I didn't 'get' what the hell he was doing. Or trying to do, or not to do, or whatever. All I know is that I had a pair of baseball boots splattered with paint in the 80's, and I knew they weren't art........ Any way up, I still don't understand Pollock and have never seen one of his works in the flesh. BUT I do totally get what you're saying in this post, about using non standard art materials, painting on the floor instead of an easel etc. You've given me the shove to look into this chap's work now, and I'll get back to you on what I find out. Itr may not be in thevery near future, but Mr JP is now on my 'to do' list.

Casey Klahn said...

I did get to see the image shown at the top of this post at the MoNA. The size and whole idea is possessing.

I recommend you see my posts on JP and if you get the chance to rent the Ed Harris movie, it is very entertaining. Only, when you ask the clerk at the rental store for the movie, and he says, "Oh, you mean this one: Polack?" - don't snort out loud.

Adam Cope said...

nice writing casey

so important that element of artistic liberty
a good art educationalist should aid the development of this, as indeed does looking closely at the greats, such as JP

btw, about twenty years ago JP & AE was the subject of my honours disertation (25 000 words), tho' the adjudicator thought the subject too contempoarary for proper art historical study.

Casey Klahn said...

Hmmn. Some people say that as soon as its in the museum, it's history. Maybe the adj. didn't think there were enough scholarly works out yet.

The difficulties of school, eh? They now offer these things online for the first time (MFA) and it tickled my imagination...do I need/want one?

jafabrit said...

Casey, that was an excellent response that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Seeing a JP in the real I love the power of them, and exploring the lines, very lyrical and beautiful.

Casey Klahn said...

Yeah, Corrine. Very powerful. I only wish I could've seen a grouping of his canvases, instead of only a few separate ones at the MoNA.

Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism