Shadowy Things & The Pulpit of Modernism

Vincent van Gogh, 1888, oil on canvas, 28.5 × 36.3 inches (Yale University Art G
Vincent van Gogh, 1888, oil on canvas, 28.5 × 36.3 inches (Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven)

Considering works by Van Gogh, Kandinsky, and Frank Stella, Mark Stone muses on the ongoing tension between figuration and pure abstraction in abstract painting.

Stone wrties: "What our abstract painting lacks is a more comprehensive way of seeing and producing imagery that accomodates both our lens-based dematerialised culture and the physical life we live. Our painting should define a different kind of visual engagement and understanding, one that moves us beyond the detrimental influence of our mannered Modernism. At this point in Post-modern cultural history we painters must begin to resolve the problem of illusionistic thickness defined in Stella’s early Black Paintings and the legacy of that shadow cast by van Gogh’s table. Yet, we choose to remain forever elsewhere, floating in Kandinsky’s nebulous universe."