The Gray Slabs and the Holocaust

 
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#0915 1944

Story:

I have been reading Robert Hobbs, Lee Krasner

The Gray Slabs and the Holocaust

There may well be other, heretofore unexplored factors besides Krasner) difficulty of coming to grips with intuition that explain why most of her works during the years from approximately 1943 to 1946-47 so often end up looking like gray slabs of paint, which she referred to as gray stones.

As Krasner explained, “I went into my own black-out period which lasted two or three years where the canvases would simply build up until they’d get like stone and it was always just a gray mess. The image wouldn’t emerge… I was fighting to find I knew not what.”

On another occasion, she referred to them as her “mud period.”

“I was saying, I paint. I paint every day. This is what’s happening to me.” Krasner said. I faced the issue very aggressively. I was having a rough time, and I didn’t care who knew it.”

None of these experiments with intuition now exist, because Krasner subjected them to a thorough soaking in the bathtub before scraping them down so that she could reuse the canvases.

A possible explanation for these dense, turgid works of the mid-1940s is that they were subliminal reactions to the mass murders of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, which were then being publicly acknowledged in New York.

I think she is courageous just to keep going for three years with stone slabs! That must have been agony. I felt the loss of those gray stone slabs. I wish she had honoured her process more and kept them. This one is in my sketch of that story. One layer has “1944′ written on it. The time Krasner was in this mud. Also the year I was born, in occupied Amsterdam.

Stencil

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#0907 Stencil

Here is another using stencil option. I cam make a stencil from any sketch and use it – to repeat, or to make larger, smaller or inverse. The potential still blows me away. Play is all I can do!

Hagley Park Sunset

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#0900 Hagley Park Sunset

I have had this one, or something from this evening walk on my mind for a while. Those trees have more leaves now. I find it hard to keep up, I have more I want to do from New York, even from Sydney in March! However I like to do ones from right now, and now it is blooming with green everywhere. It really is spring, and while I don’t know really what sort of work I do, I know that I want to catch this growth! This shift from the bald trees to the new sprouting fresh green. Maybe a few earth crosses 🙂 And it is #0900, so that is fitting, the end is in sight, but I can’t see it at all.

Hills6

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0890 Hills6

These images arose driving back to Christchurch from Mt. Lyford and being struck by the colour and flow of the hills. The first image took a while but then ad libbed more to do the next one and this one is an elaboration of a bit of the last one.

Landscape. Place. Wolf Kahn’s America : an artist’s travels has plenty of art talk to chew on as well as great pastels.

Here is one idea I like, gives a nice depth to landscapes & may lead to some integration.

These reproductions take me right to the times and places I want to remember. They serve also to document moments that the painter Robert Henri in his book The Art Spirit called “states of higher awareness.” Of these moments, Henri wrote, “The pictures are a witness.” It is dear to me that an artist’s pictures are thus the repositories of much more than what he saw before him. A picture represents more than what the conscious mind grasped – at the time – the so-called subject matter.

Wolf Kahn