Object Oriented Abstraction

Kelly, Ellsworth. “Notes of 1969.” Geometric Abstraction (1969): 92-93. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.

“Notes of 1969” by Ellsworth Kelly, he illustrates his reasoning behind the way he feels art should be produced. Ellsworth’s restricted knowledge of figurative painting no longer appeased him. “All art seemed too men-oriented”, “figurative painting and also abstract painting(though my knowledge of the latter was very limited) as I had known it in the 20th century no longer interested me as a solution to my own problems.”(92) Ellsworth felt the need to change how his art was perceived from the elaborate to a simpler expression. He chose to create art from everything instead of something.

Ellsworth felt that art was less complex than what had been produced and “created” over the past centuries. He references artists such as Mondrian and Matisse as those he chose to stray away from when it came to his art resurrection. Instead he chose to reference artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, and Klee as artists to be impacted by. “My work is about structure. It has never been about abstract expressionism.”(93) Ellsworth did not feel that art could no n longer be felt by reproducing “that which needs man tries intentionally to make beautiful.”(92) He was more interested in the form of his work. In a particular artwork of Ellsworth’s that he references,“Red, Yellow, Blue”  that was produced in 1951 with three overlapping sheets of color-coated paper and colored paper he states, “I am less interested in marks on the panels than the ‘presence’ of the panels themselves.”(92) This artwork resides in the Museum of Modern Art. © 2016 Ellsworth Kelly. Simply, the panels are the art and not the strokes of his paintbrush or, if there had been any, the figurative subjects in it. Ellsworth intended on and successfully proved that art is most definitely in everything. “My first lesson was to see objectively, to erase all ‘meaning’ of the thing seen. Then only could the real meaning of it be understood and felt.”(93)

-Catherine Harbin


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