Friday, January 4, 2013

Reflections on Kandinsky's colors

Punschlied (after Friedrich Schiller). 16"×20", Oil on linen, January 2013
This is the painting I am working on now, named "Punschlied" after Friedrich Schiller's poem. It also happened to return me to reflections on Wassily Kandinsky's spiritual interpretation of colors, which began several months ago with another painting, shown below.
Reflections on Kandinsky's spiritual interpretation of
colours. 16"×12", Oil on linen panel, July 2012
In this earlier work, I've attempted to set up a battle between the three primary colors, blue, yellow and so test, if only for myself, Kandinsky's interpretation of their inherent semantics: to exaggerate and oversimplify a bit, for him, the yellow vs. red vs. blue triad straightforwardly maps onto the "body/earth vs. soul/passion vs. spirit/mind" triad. The battlefield created here was acutely noticed by +Mark Davis when I first posted this on Google+. After all, these values exist rather in interaction with one another than in the state of forced separation; in unity rather than in discord. Or at least they are supposed to. 

Conversation. 11"x14". Oil on canvas panel. July 2012
This observation inspired another approach to the same motive, called "Conversation". I used an earlier still life study for this, and it hasn't quite worked out: as you can see, the earthly, mundane nature of the subject matter took over and the "spiritual" blue all but disappeared, being represented only in a couple of spots here and there (and, of course, merged into the green). Come to think about it in retrospect, this outcome might be taken as a confirmation of Kandnisky's claims; yet it turned out that this motive, this general line of thinking apparently hadn't completed itself in my mind, and came out again in this month's work. 

Still life with three lemons and a mirror. 16"x20". June 2010
It is also based on an earlier, straightforwardly impressionistic still life study; when I decided to re-work it, and started thinking about it again, it somehow pulled out of the deepest well of my memory lines and pieces of Friedrich Schiller's Punschlied. And its focus on inherent unity of "four elements" that "make the life and build the world", its association of these fundamental elements with everyday still life stuff like sugar and lemons, brought me back to my unfinished conversation with Kandinsky. The new work is also all about three primary colors, but they are now nearly merged together in a life-like outburst.   

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