John McLaughlin is considered to be a pioneer of minimalism and hard-edge painting. His geometric abstractions are inspired by an interest in the Japanese philosophy of Zen and the idea of the void. Devoid of any rendering of the ‘real’ world, his purely abstract works provoke a state of meditation on man’s place in the natural world. McLaughlin was influenced by Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian, as well as Japanese art and Eastern philosophy. My current practice addressing hard-edge, geometric abstraction, together with a long-standing interest in the Japanese aesthetic, has sparked my interest in the work of McLaughlin.
The design of this kimono reflects an influence of Western art in Japan. The kimono is held by the Met Museum and is classified as Costume. The squares and rectangles are evocative of abstract/non-representational painting. Having long been interested in the Japanese aesthetic I am drawn to kimono designs, especially those which reflect an abstract design.
Ellsworth Kelly was a leading exponent of hard-edge painting. Abstract shapes, in this instance the square, are precisely defined and free of gestural brushstrokes. He believed that paintings were objects. Like Kelly, I have been using square panels to create a larger whole. I also wish for my viewer to respond to my paintings instinctively and to experience a physical and mental response.
Looking somewhat like a bleached beach towel Happy Holiday is painted in subtle, ghostly colours. It uses repetition and geometric form to establish a relationship with shapes. However the stripes are not rigidly geometric as the lines are not uniformly straight. There is an otherworldly, or spiritual, content, and a state of bliss is implied in the title. My connection to this work is that is founded on geometry, that it is abstract, and that it aims to elicit emotion.
Hilma af Klimt was a contemporary of Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian. Today she is regarded as a pioneer of abstract art. Her abstract paintings pre-dated those of Kandinsky, who is historically known to be the founder of abstraction. Like Kandinsky, Malevich and Mondrian, af Klimt’s concern was for the spiritual in art. According to her wishes her works were not seen publicly until 20 years after her death. My interest in af Klimt lies in the fact that it was a woman who painted the first abstractions. af Klimt’s abstractions inform my research into abstract art.