Monday, 25 November 2013

Variation on a theme. Yellow on blue, Nov 2013 Mixed media on canvas, 39.5 cm x 39.5 cm

When Malevich painted his Black Square in 1915, it caused quite a stir. Malevich is hailed by many as one of the forerunners of modernism and his work still turns up in today's discussion about what painting can be "about". The simplicity of the square, the circle and the cross he painted can easily be revisited by anyone. I fancied having a go myself, initially as a starting point to something else. I did want to start off where he had arrived, namely with the good old square. First I chose a totally different colour scheme, but worked over it. Then the new combination also got painted over, this time by the highly contrasting blue and yellow. I still viewed it as the beginning of a more complex painting, but soon I changed my mind. Returning to the canvas one day, I decided to give the homage its due respect. Instead of embellishing the motif, I just worked up the colours to be more solid, flat and simple. Staying with the original idea, the square, has if not helped me create something original, at least helped me appreciate The Black Square with fresh eyes. As an exercise, I can recommend this particular "motif" to everyone. Choose new colours, or not. Fret not over originality, just enjoy the visit to 1915.   

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