Inside reductive abstraction (still) : sensation, visual perception, memory and the aesthetic experience of the object
thesisposted on 2023-05-26, 04:41 authored by Mestitz, A
In the late 1950's, Latin America witnessed the advent of Neo-concretism and, in North America, Minimalism. Both movements were driven by the need to liberate painting into actual space, to make the painting an object. The same need lies at the heart of my work, which throughout this project enables a re-thinking of Reductive Abstraction. Whilst retaining the formal elements of Reductive Abstraction (within the syntax of objects) ‚Äö- colour, form, line and geometric shapes ‚Äö- my aim is to expose the apprehension of this body of work as being expressive of something subjectively intuited in the making process. This process begins with the manipulation of simple things such as mount card, match-sticks and paint in a state of reverie. Shapes are cut and glued and folded and assembled into models for contemplation. From these models, questions arise which determine whether I proceed with a larger-scale object. This project does not comprise a set task ‚Äö- to make reductive art and write about it ‚Äö- but rather, it is a process of becoming: both to the senses and, ultimately, to a deeper kind of understanding. It is a process realized through the making of art in the studio and the exploration of a series of research questions posited throughout the time of its making. A project, therefore, that aims to examine the process of doing within the studio and, through this doing, extrapolate some answers ‚Äö- and, hopefully, more questions. My research serves primarily as an investigation into the manipulation of colour and, in some instances, an attempt to give primacy to the cognizance of colour. In doing so, I seek to enact a kind of colouring-out: an irrational, unconstrained use of colour. Such work argues for the possibility of an immaterial becoming or thickness of colour which, through its transformative nature, defies surface and pervades space. By animating the object, particularly through colour spatialization and the relative positioning of objects in space, can the object create a sensate experience? I argue for an affective object: one whose correspondence with the perceiver is through sensation, thereby provoking a conflicted gaze of possibilities which both confounds the object and sets up a state of uncertainty. I acknowledge, and argue the relevance of, the choice of the gallery as a site for the exhibition of Reductive Abstraction. This is a body of work made specifically in a research-based setting; that which is both historically encoded and seeking a new state of presentness. What expectation is considered by using the gallery as a frame for work that, in turn, utilizes the gallery as a particular space? I consider here a fusion, or site-space, rather than a relevant positing of a site-specific work within a gallery-specific space. The exegesis demonstrates a foremost interest in Aesthetic theory, including the writings of Immanuel Kant, Henri Bergson, Willhelm Worringer, Arthur Danto and Andrew Benjamin; coupled with close examination of the artists and theorists engaged within Minimalism and Neo-concretism such as Anne Truitt, Peter Cripps, Helio Oiticica, Robert Morris, Rosalind Krauss, Feriera Gullar, Donald Kuspit and Frances Colpitt. There is also reference to artists such as Piet Mondrian, Anish Kapoor and Robert Mangold. The crux of this research project lies in the reconfiguration of Reductive Abstraction; that which is hinged on the concepts of rationality, propositions, objectivity and pragmatism. The works ‚Äö- utilizing the syntax of Reductive Abstraction ‚Äö- dictate paradoxical outcomes whereby they are not only self-referential and reductive, but expressive through sensation. The engagement with concepts of irrationality, subjectivity, intuition and uncertainty is therefore an engagement with what lies beyond the object in itself.
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