Color Field, which originated in New York City and is closely associated with Abstract Expressionism, is a form of art in which nothing can mean everything, and everything nothing. Broad fields of color freed from context become the focus of attention, and could be seen to represent nothing and have no meaning beyond the aesthetic. But it is human nature to look for form and meaning, to strive to make connections and tell stories, whether making art or viewing it.
Five Artspan artists explain how the process of creating Color Field art helps them to explore the inexplicable, the natural world, and our place in the universe.
"My focus is on what the Buddhists call 'emptiness.' Emptiness really isn’t empty, it contains the potential for everything. I seek that point where existence forms intent and consciousness begins. Thought condenses into action and matter; it’s that Space where the universe begins. My current work seeks to capture that first single ripple in the fabric of the universe.
"The work that appears in the Contemporary Landscape Gallery focuses on same themes in a more intentional, albeit simplified, expression of the natural world. They are less concerned with reality in favor of the expression of silence."
"I am foremost a color-field painter and am fascinated by the warm earth tones of the desert landscape and the cool blue hues of the oceans. My colors are evocative of the Egyptian landscape - the quality of the light of the Sinai desert and the turquoise blue of the Mediterranean Sea. This has left an indelible impression on me and has influenced most of my work. I rarely work with a preconceived vision for the final product, thus allowing the possibility of ambiguity and surprise. Conceptually, I try to immerse the viewer in the perceptual experience of space, color and light. My paintings actualise perception by carefully balancing these elements. By using color and texture, I try to breathe movement into my abstract landscapes to guide the viewer into the paintings, making him or her wander into a different reality."
"Light is an elusive repetitive metaphor in my paintings. Through random mark making, I am continually struck by how light emerges and brings order from chaos. The more random, layered and complex I intentionally make a painting the more unified and simplistic the surface outwardly becomes. The small spaces created by drips and brushstrokes form a unified field on each work. ...Spaces between the drips and brushstrokes are made. The density of these spaces form a visual illusion of something spatially very minute to infinitely vast.
My responses to these harmonic spacial combinations of light allow me as a painter to be present in the painting like no other subject I have known. Each work is layered with aspects of science and the ineffable. This hierarchy of painted expansive fields invites me and I hope my viewer to question and complete their meaning."
Jim Morgan's deceptively simple landscapes find a poetry in examining angles of light and shadow. Using predominantly broad swaths of color, he evokes specific locations, evocative times-of-day or year, and turns of weather that strike the viewer like a dream or memory
"Most of my work can best be described as contemporary landscapes...traditional in subject matter but executed in bold palettes and stark compositions."
“The landscapes are an ever-evolving exercise in composition and making concise marks on paper. I try to work as much as possible on location, where I work out quick gestural shapes and make color notes."
Vision and Sensibility
"Pure color field and Greenbergian formalism impressed upon me 'the primacy of the visual dynamics of form and color,' the crucial importance of paint itself as a material, and the aesthetic purity. In this arena, painting could not validly exist as the illustration of some settled knowledge, but as a process whereby the conscious and unconscious mind might be explored, and the dreams and visions expressed, interpreted.
- a penchant for lyrical, meditative atmosphere
- more or less musical arrangement of element
- aura of subtle poetry."