Jack Whitten, Beloved Painter of Abstract Cosmologies, Dies at 78 -ARTnews

 

His “conceptual paintings” offered new possibilities for what abstraction could be.

 

“Ethereal and oftentimes mystical, Whitten’s paintings came out of inquiries into philosophical, scientific, and mathematical concepts. The chipped-paint technique in the “E Stamps” works, for example, often makes his work shine, and it sprang from reading up on the physical properties of light. “We know now that light occurs in extremely small particles,” he once told ARTnews. “That’s what allows us to see—those little fucking photons bouncing around your retina, and blam-o, I can see!””

Source: Jack Whitten, Beloved Painter of Abstract Cosmologies, Dies at 78 -ARTnews

“The progression of a painter’s work, as it travels in time from point to point, will be toward clarity: toward the elimination of all obstacles the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer.”

The recipe of a work of art – its ingredients – how to make it -the formula.

 

  1. There must be a clear preoccupation with death – intimations of mortality…Tragic art, romantic art, etc., deals with the knowledge of death.
  2. Sensuality. Our basis of being concrete about the world. it is a lustful relationship to things that exist.
  3. Tension. Either conflict or curbed desire.
  4. Irony. This is a modern ingredient – the self-effacement and examination by which a man for instant can go on to something else.
  5. Wit and play…for the human element.
  6. The ephemeral and chance…for the human element.
  7. Hope.10% to make the tragic concept more endurable. I measure these ingredients very carefully when I paint a picture. It is always the form that follows these elements and the picture results from the proportions of these elements.”

 

Mark Rothko Art Center https://www.rothkocenter.com/en/about-rothko/statement-about-art