Last week I touched on the subject of interpretation of content which still eludes me somewhat. I know I am not alone in this. I've listened to talks by guides in art galleries around the world and wondered at what they can elicit from a few brush strokes. I am of a similar mind to a lot of those people embarking on the start of their own art journeys, many of whom are seriously considering putting together a worthwhile collection, or just enjoying viewing exhibitions and are struggling to find this connection to abstract art. I suppose that we are looking for a link to the artist’s consciousness and still think of painting in conventional ways - landscape realism.
Eddi has given me a book on Ivon Hitchens work which I have found enlightening. He was a renowned English painter, now deceased, and I’d like to share some of this with you. When asked about his work Hitchens replied I am merely trying to do what all other painters have done – interpret nature … I seek to recreate the truth of nature by making my own song about it (in paint). According to Hitchens, he sees objects and spaces which he then reduces to patches and lines of colour which have an effect on our aesthetic consciousness.
These photographs show Hitchens' abstract compositions drawn from nature where all the elements of nature are simply represented by values of colour. The first, The Chilli Pine, was painted in 1945 and the second, Blue Door, House and Lake, is much more abstract and was completed in 1972. The thoughts of the artist are said to be inextricably interwoven within the pictures. I am going to regress temporarily here and say that I know what I like. As I see it, the landscape is a variety of shapes, colours, planes, light and shadow and line and, to reduce them to a splash of pigment and a single brush stroke or two, undermines the beauty and form of nature. Doing this seems to me to leave too great a burden on the viewer to complete the picture and find that sense of place artists speak of. I wonder if any of you agree with me?
I just don't think that Mr. Hitchens' songs have quite enough detail to capture the atmosphere of the subject matter. Mr. Hitchens is highly regarded and I need to revisit him at a later date to see if I feel the same way about his work.