Project 2: Formalism

Notes on reading chapter 2 of Art History: The Basics:

New terms:

Naturalism, Semi-figurative, Semi-abstract, total abstraction.

“Looking carefully at these abstract examples and attempting to describe what hits our retina, helps us to understand how these works were made and what aesthetic effects they produce. Regardless of what other meanings or connotations they may have, when we first encounter entirely abstract works of art, we primarily rely upon our visual response to the juxtaposition of forms and colours…” p.42 Art History: the basics, Pooke & Newall 2008.

I found the following quote helpful to me as a reminder that use of materials can provide a basis for looking into contextual issues or statements about the age we lived in etc…

“Close attention to the particularities of any aesthetic object provides an initial point from which we might discuss broader issues of context, meaning and value.” p.47 Art History: the basics, Pooke & Newall 2008.

Formalism leads to Modernism, a movement or theory largely promoted by critic named Greenberg. But he seemed to want to divorce art from any sense of context, political or social, and as we entered the 1960’s/1970’s the form of art seemed to shift and critics began to propose a new movement in art ‘post-modernism’.

I found reading the chapter interesting but it’s hard to keep up with the breadth of artists, or commentator’s it discusses, particularly when many of these names are new to me!


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