Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mark Tobey


Mark Tobey was an American Artist and quite influential if you believe the following quote from the book, MARK TOBEY – Light Space New edition in English language. quote - "Italians Tancredi and Mario Deluigi openly yet superficially imitated Tobey. In the degree of abstraction, the compositional schemes, and the all-over notion of Tobey’s paintings, Jackson Pollock recognized an opportunity to move beyond the discourse surrounding the Surrealists who had emigrated from Europe to North America — a step that would lead him to his action paintings. Without the impulse provided by Tobey’s moving focus and all-over concept, works by Richard Pousette-Dart and Lee Krasner, and the early works of Sam Francis and Piero Dorazio would have been inconceivable. " - unquote
That's quite a statement and makes me want to do further research, and was the reason for my doing the post yesterday on Tancredi Parmeggiani. The next post will be of Mario Deluigi.
The above quote and the top image, "Night Celebration II" 1971, is from hachmeister-galerie.de.

It's really hard to chose just one or two images of Tobey's paintings, they're all so mysterious and fascinating. This second image, "white Flames" 1970 is from Artnet (they have 40 images).
What I'm starting to see here is the convergence of calligraphy and pointillism. I was trying to find a special painting of Tobey's that would make my point, but I think I'll just press on with what we see here.
My understanding is that pointillism (or division ism) is about breaking painting down into it's most basic parts. And those parts are the individual brush applications of color; paint. And maybe, in a way, it applies to mark-making. At the same time you'll notice that a lot of the marks or applications of paint also look a whole lot like letters, proto letters; calligraphy.
For me it's pretty obvious that the influences of pointillism and calligraphy have collided here and in the work of Antonio Sanfilippo, for example. Although occasionally, references are made, it seems that in general people don't identify the works of some of these artists (in many cases contemporaries) as a hybrid of both abstract calligraphy and abstract pointillism.

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