22 July 2010

Adolph Gottlieb: “Another thing – I have changed my mind about an idea of Milton Avery's – as he says, 'don't try to paint a masterpiece.' It seems to me now that that is the very thing to do – try to paint a masterpiece – it probably won't be one anyway. Of course, from his point of view, Milton's right, there are many pictures that would be pretty good if they were not belabored and worked to death in trying for perfection. But right now I am sick of the idea of all the pretty good pictures and want a picture that is either damn good or no good.”

“Pretty good” can be oppressive.

Gottlieb stayed with what I consider a landscape grid in later years, which kept it in the spirit of Max Ernst's canvases (below) which were his main influence. Ernst created Pollock, Motherwell, and Gorky, and then the next generation turned dogmatically against representation, which is turning against infinity. That's my main beef with abstract expressionism, which I otherwise like. When something becomes standardized, the first thing to go is infinity. I haven't undertook to write about the avant-garde on this blog so far except to stress this point.

1 comment:

Ian Keenan said...

He had a lot of influences earlier, but the later paintings were reworkings of Ernst imho. The pictographs were not so much Ernst though ME can be seen in there.