This week’s quotes are dedicated to my good friend Chris Gandy. A great benefit in surrounding one’s self with educated companions is that they often feed you when you are hungry. Chris’ love for philosophy, literature and art presents a gold mine of historical figures who otherwise would have been unknown. Inspiration to research these two artists came from this NPR piece: Two Ways to Think About Nothing.
The attitude that nature is chaotic and that the artist puts order into it is a very absurd point of view, I think. All that we can hope for is to put some order into ourselves.
– Willem de Kooning
The artist’s job is to be a witness to his time in history.
– Robert Rauschenberg
About de Kooning:
After Jackson Pollock, de Kooning was the most prominent and celebrated of the Abstract Expressionist painters. His pictures typify the vigorous gestural style of the movement and he, perhaps, did more than any of his contemporaries to develop a radically abstract style of painting that fused Cubism, Surrealism and Expressionism. Although he established his reputation with a series of entirely abstract pictures, he felt a strong pull towards traditional subjects and would eventually become most famous for his pictures of women, which he painted in spells throughout his life. Later he turned to landscapes, which were also highly acclaimed, and which he continued to paint even into his eighties, when his mind was significantly impaired by Alzheimer’s disease. SOURCE
Rauschenberg’s enthusiasm for popular culture and his rejection of the angst and seriousness of the Abstract Expressionists led him to search for a new way of painting. He found his signature mode by embracing materials traditionally outside of the artist’s reach. He would cover a canvas with house paint, or ink the wheel of a car and run it over paper to create a drawing, while demonstrating rigor and concern for formal painting. By 1958, at the time of his first solo exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery, his work had moved from abstract painting to drawings like “Erased De Kooning” (1953) (which was exactly as it sounds) to what he termed “combines.” These combines (meant to express both the finding and forming of combinations in three-dimensional collage) cemented his place in art history. SOURCE