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Tally on Art - Abstracting an Abstract

Tally on Art - Abstracting an Abstract

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Published by Mary A Clark
A Bohemian artist discusses art techniques, Leonardo and Andy Warhol, in an excerpt from the book, Tally: An Intuitive Life, by Mary Clark, published by All Things That Matter Press. Art is abstract. It has nothing to sell.
A Bohemian artist discusses art techniques, Leonardo and Andy Warhol, in an excerpt from the book, Tally: An Intuitive Life, by Mary Clark, published by All Things That Matter Press. Art is abstract. It has nothing to sell.

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Published by: Mary A Clark on Jul 17, 2011
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05/26/2014

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Tally: Abstracting an Abstract 
This is an excerpt from
Tally: An Intuitive Life
, by Mary Clark, AllThings That Matter Press 2013. Paul Johnston (PJ) came toGreenwich Village in 1919 and lived there and in Woodstock, NewYork until his death in 1987. He was a fine press printer, bookdesigner, literary publisher, artist and thinker.
 Abstracting an Abstract 
Talking about his artwork, PJ
said, “You have to get away from the
idea of creating work out of your head or out of the ob
 jects you see.”
Rogue held one of PJ
’s “Impressions,” running his fingers over thebraised surface of cloth, paper and matte background. “Purely by
chance
,” he said. “These are purely by chance.”
 
“No, No.”
PJ
reset his words. “I worked ten years as an a
rt student,painting and so on, and the first exhibition I had was at the Woodstock Art Gallery and Whitney Studio Club in New York. But right away, I
 
didn’t want any more paintings. I didn’t know what I wanted. And it
took, well, I was in my 40s, when I began work on the PJ
Impressions.”
Rogue nodded.
“And finally, I got the basis of abstracting an abstract.”
PJ laughed aninfectious,
quick laugh. “I got the abstraction from which any number of 
new forms could be produced. It was reduced to a sort of a scale, likea musical scale, and there were instructions of what I should do to geta form at all and my surprise at what I got. So that applied to the textile
design.”“You did textile designs?” I was surprised.
 
“For about fi
ve years. When you see any home décor, take time to lookat the patterns, the geometrical shapes or the flowing shapes, and
colors. Someone designed that.”
I nodded, wondering at an artist spending creative energy on thesethings. But then again, Andy Warhol showed that commercial art couldbe far more.
“The point is,”
PJ
regained momentum, “Leonardo’s influence extends
to today when you go into a store and any package that you see has aLeonardo-like rendition of what the contents of the package are, allprinted up in beautiful colors and likely forms. Today I was thinkingabstract art has no object. It has nothing to sell. It is simply form and
depth and movement. And that’s what these are."“How did you come up with the idea?”
I have an idea about how I got these things. But having got them in
that way I can’t make up my mind I’ll do it again and get the same sort
of results. It was an unintentional organization of color and form. It
can’t be imitated.”“Didn’t the pop artists
 
have a similar method,” I said. “Or were theyconsciously directing their work before they did it, while they did it?”“The best let the designs formulate themselves, using certain
elements. Warhol had a sense of play in his work. And he developed amet
hod of replicating designs so that each one surprises. It’s always afresh experience.”

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