Saturday, June 27, 2015

"BRIDGING THE GAP" ABSTRACT CONTINUES, AGNES MARTIN'S USE OF COLOR

First section of "Bridging the Gap" in progress, 11" X 11" Lori LaBerge  2015

Work on the latest piece has continued this week.  The curves are constantly being tweaked as they don't follow the grid of the backing linen.   A spot-dyed wool is being used in the purple section and the lighter sections needed to be near the edges as the darker sections did not give enough contrast. Placement of darks, mediums and lights were marked off.

It was a busy week with many decisions to be made on various activities and when I feel stressed I always do two things:  have a glass of wine and read an art book.  I have always turned to art and it has never failed me.


I found myself reading a book about Agnes Martin.  She worked with a subtle sense of  contrast when she began working with grids and stripes.  I could not find photos of her work that gave permission to use, but her work can be viewed here.

In rug hooking we constantly talk about the importance of value and contrast with most of it being centered on intense contrast. There would be no better work to study than Martin's to learn about the opposite, the subtlety of value. 

   Wool colors close in value.  Notice the feeling you get from them.  What would you design with these colors?

Martin's work always gives me a sense of tranquility.  The colors she used are muted and similar in value leaving one with a feeling of peace and calm.  There is also a slight innocence to her pieces. Maybe it is the purity of paler, lighter colors.  I can easily see this having an influence on my work down the line.

People tend to veer toward the familiar.  Our brain is constantly trying to make sense out of the artwork we view.  Martin's work deletes that need and forces the viewer to see more from what at first looks quite simple.

Pale yellow, pale blue, pale peach and textured medium beige

At first glance her grids look very controlled, yet the pencil marks are not perfectly straight lines.  They skip and wave while along their "straight" path.  Martin called herself an abstract expressionist though many see minimalism in her work.  The two are different and she seems to fit into both as the simplicity and paring down of the work fits the mode of minimalism while the sense of the unconscious ideas she portrayed may fit into abstract expressionism. 

Clothing in yellow, ecru and stone

Martin worked in repetition.  The grids are repeated rectangles or squares while the stripes repeat themselves throughout a piece with alternating colors or lines in between them.

A tower of books.  Repeated stripes of various thickness in calm colors

Think about how color affects us, notice the calm colors around you and have a great day.

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