Saturday, February 4, 2012

Which Red? The One You See? Or, the One That's in Your Head?

Jasper Johns' Red Image © 2012 Melinda S. Esparza

I offered a little teaser last week about a work I submitted for a local exhibit here in Tucson. The deadline has passed, so I feel like it's okay to discuss this now. Don't know if I'll get in yet. I'll let you know, if I do.

The exhibit called for artists to think about the color red, and I suppose, Mark Rothko and his color field paintings. That prompted a discussion of his work, the color, and other artists of the time, i. e., Jasper Johns (In this household, art and politics are the big, big subjects discussed regularly.) Mr. Artyfice reminded me of Johns optical fun with his flag paintings, and that was the catalyst.

Red. What can you do with this subject without being too clichéd?

I did some research on Rothko's contemporaries and found that he didn't care for Jasper Johns' work. Hmmm. This got me to check out why. Interesting. Ever the contrarian, I thought it would be fun to evoke the color red, per Jasper Johns, AND paint like Rothko.

This piece is my conversation on the subject. I wonder what they'd think. Gee, maybe I would annoy them both!

I really do think these two could have been better friends.

I started with a black ground and kept adding layers of color without sharp borders, even painting a layer of red with interference blue, followed by the best green I could paint (after much experimentation and exhausted cone cells!)

If you look at this image for about 30 seconds, and then shut your eyes, you'll see red. Johns did this with his Flags (1968).

Now what was it Rothko said about Johns' neo-dada work?? Oh, yes. "...after seeing Johns's targets and flags (he) harrumphed: "We worked for years to get rid of all that."

"Well, thank God, art tends to be less what critics write than what artists make," was his reply. And, Mr. Johns also said on another occasion, "I don't think that you can talk about art and get anywhere. I think you can only look at it." Ah, now, it's fun to talk about art!

I'm pleased to have had a chance to veer a bit on the experimental/response side of art, and to play with this.

She Wore New Earrings Image © 2012 Melinda S. Esparza
To purchase this painting, click here 

I'm pleased, too, to announce that She Wore New Earrings will be in the Beauty in the Beast exhibit at Fuller Lodge Art Center, Los Alamos, New Mexico, from February 24th through March 31st. A reception will be held on February 24th from 5-7 PM....Oh, I wish...


Elliot said...

that's fun mom. the 'red' worked great for me, pretty cool :)

Jeane Myers said...

amazing how far you've taken 'she wore new earrings' - a few scribbles into a fully realized piece, wonderful - loved this post, it has so much to think about, as usual - skype soon!!! xo

Melinda said...

Hey, Ell!
Thank you, dear one. I'm glad you can see red in your head--the good red. Hope the juror likes the idea too.

I just love when you stop in.

'thousand kisses...

Melinda said...

Hello Jeane,
I'm so glad you like this. It reminds me of a great day spent with you here.

Yes, let's!

Warm hugs. Best wishes with your fabulous work.

DJ said...

Melinda, Found your blog via Jeane over at ARTIT. Love your work. Keep changing the world,

Bridget Hunter said...

I love the Ancestors painting - and once again wish i could be over there painting with you if these are the landscape colours you live close to.

Melinda said...

Hello DJ,
Welcome! I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you'll visit again.

Thank you very much. Let's all change the world a little bit at a time--through love, through kindness, through color and paint.

Melinda said...

Oh, Bridget, I think the earth would tilt on its axis just a bit. Your work is so luscious and strong. It would indeed be a treat to share some studio space with you and throw some paint around.

Thank you.

cohen labelle said...

These big guys had big egos eh?
For my part, Melinda, I just love your work, your love and excitement with color and applying the paint. And to top it all off, you have a cerebral side too – which I can imagine yields some pretty neat exchanges between you and Mr. Artyfice - and before I forget, definitely no cliches either where you're concerned!!!!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

I'd have to agree with Marcia, and with Elliot -- I love your cerebral side. And the "red" is cool. Very cool in every respect. Congratulations on She Wore New Earrings being in the Beauty in the Beast exhibit. You're not only brilliant, you are a brilliant painter.


I saw that wish, and wished for air fare.

Donald Diddams said...

A little play on words and play on color. Surely the jurors won't be so fixated on the traditional to miss the point!
She Wore New Earrings sure turned into a winner! Even though that eye has a bit of the Beast in it, the painting is a Beauty.

Melinda said...

Oh, yes, Marcia, they really did, but I don't think they thought about them much. They seemed to accept that they were the authorities, don't you think, even as they attacked each other.

Thank you for your encouraging comment. I think my ego might be feeling a bit heavier than usual now (That's a good thing, right?) It can get pretty loud around here when discussing the two of the most important issues in the entire universe! Eh, hem...

When we're brainstorming, there are no cliches, but I do fear them. They are sometimes hard to avoid.

Virtual hugs to you.

Melinda said...

Hello dear Barbara,
You make me smile (as usual). I may be getting older, but occasionally my brain cells are firing in such a good way, and my mind comes up with something fun. I'm so glad you like this 'red.' I hope the one in your head is good too.

Thank you about the painting going to NM. I wish I could go and see the reactions of the viewers. Sigh. It was short notice on this call--maybe next time. You got it--thank you.

Virtual and warm hugs from the desert. You really don't want to know how gorgeous it is here this week...

Melinda said...

Hello Donald,
Thank you for your always thoughtful comment. I do hope that it gets into the exhibit. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Yes, that beauty has an inner beasty and I hope that it is well received in Los Alamos. Wish I could be there to see the response and to enjoy the snowy land.

Virtual hugs to you.

Jeffrey J. Boron said...

Congratulations Melinda...yeah!!!

It can only be fair to say,
That nothing can make your day,
As when we artists come out to play.


Melinda said...

Thank you, Jeffrey!

You are so very clever, and talented, and wonderful and well, now poetic...

Virtual hugs to you and yours.

Linny D. Vine said...

I hope that they're "reddy" for you
and your art, Melinda! Your creations are fab!!

Melinda said...

Ha, Linny!
You are so very clever...And, you're a wonderful artist too.

Thank you for your encouragement. It's food for my soul.

Patrice said...

I just love that title.

And red.

Melinda said...

Hello Patrice!

Ha. I'm so glad you like the title.

I hope the red in your head is a friendly red...!

Thanks for visiting. Hope you'll stop by again.