Thursday, October 24, 2013

Abstract Expressionism in an Abstract Sense

My favorite paper that I ever wrote during my years of education was for not for english, french, or even creative writing.  Nope, it was for Art History 101, one of the most interesting, entertaining, and influential classes I've ever taken.  Most of that had to do with the professor, an ancient, but feisty, petite woman who resembles a higher-voiced, more wirey Judi Dench.  The assignment was to compare an artist to another.  Seems simple, and rather boring/overdone, but there was a catch.  One was to be a traditional artist artist, while the other was to be pretty much anyone you wanted; musicians, athletes, actors, business executives, the coffee barista, or anybody who uses a skill to create something.
I have always been fascinated with modern art and the imagination and innovation that it takes to create it, so I knew I wanted the artist to be in that category.  Then I thought about what I am interested in and know enough about that I could ramble on about for a few pages.  Enter ice skating.  What about ice skating could I compare to some modern artist?  (I probably went running at this point because the run followed by a shower routine always seemed to help my brainstorming process).
And then it came to me.  The blade marks!  The marks the blades leave on the ice look like Jackson's Pollock's paintings!  Really, it is uncanny.

I went on to compare the historical relevance and evolution of the two, the way each "performs," how the marks are expressions of physical actions, the look of the finished product, and the ways it can be viewed and interpreted.  But what I'm really quite proud of is how many different ways I came up with to describe the marks themselves: drippy, swirly, curving, overlapping, splattering, pouring, jagged, uneven, random, patterns, sharp, skinny, wide, sudden breaks, deepness, indentions, lines, dots, splodges, tangled, intricacies, and of course, strokes.

(photos collected from googleimages)

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