Brice Marden American, born Bronxville, New York, 1938 Cold Mountain 2, 1989-1991 Oil on linen 108 1/8 x 144 1/4 in. (274.5 x 366.4 cm.) HOLENIA PURCHASE FUND, IN MEMORY OF JOSEPH H. HIRSHHORN, 1992 (92.22) During the 1960s and 1970s, Brice Marden was known for monochromatic canvases distinguished by subtly textured encaustic surfaces, restrained brushwork, and accidental drips. In the mid-1980s, the artist, who had an interest in Asian cultures, discovered a book of poetry by the eighth-century Chinese hermit Han Shan (&quot;Cold Mountain&quot;), who took his name from the mountain on which he lived. The book included Chinese calligraphy in groupings of several characters. Exploring new painting materials and methods, Marden adapted that form as a visual principle for his &quot;Cold Mountain&quot; series. The series includes Marden's largest works to date, measuring 9 by 12 feet each. With a brush attached to a stick, Marden drew rows of abstract symbols over thin washes of color reminiscent of the atmospheric landscapes in Chinese paintings. In Cold Mountain 2, as in Chinese calligraphy, the &quot;writing&quot; displays a controlled tension between careful planning and spontaneous execution. While the series' lyrical lines represent a new direction for Marden, they also continue his longstanding preoccupation with color modulation, light, and surface textures within a reductive but expressive vocabulary. Text adapted from &quot;Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden: 150 Works of Art&quot; (1996), entry by Anne-Louise Marquis.
Looking up in amazement as Christ ascends into heaven are the twelve apostles. Kneeling with them is the Virgin, the only one to have a halo. Although few of the men can be identified, John the Evangelist is recognizable. He is the blond, beardless youth dressed in green who solicitously puts his arm around Mary. Surrounding the risen Christ are a group of Old Testament personages who either predicted or foreshadowed events of his life on earth. The gold background, bright colors, and compact space reveal the lingering influence of the International Gothic. However, a new spirit of visual observation also can be detected. The sharp, angular folds of the drapery evoke the perception of real human forms beneath the material. Further, the faces of the apostles reveal a broad variety of human emotions. This panel was once part of the high altar in the Cistercian abbey church of Marienfeld at Münster. At its center was a richly gilded sculpture of the Virgin and Child. Folding wings extended from this core with pictures on the fronts and backs. When the shutters were open, eight scenes -- including the National Gallery's painting -- revealed the story of Mary's life. In the closed positions, eight other subjects recounted Christ's Passion. nga
Clyfford Still American, born Grandin, North Dakota 1904 - 1980 1948-C, (1948) Oil on canvas 80 7/8 x 68 3/4 in. (205.4 x 174.6 cm.) JOSEPH H. HIRSHHORN PURCHASE FUND, 1992 (92.8) North Dakota native Clyfford Still played a pivotal role in the rise of the postwar vanguard on both the East and West coasts. An influential teacher at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco from 1946 to 1948, he was also involved with the formation of the &quot;Subjects of the Artist&quot; School, an informal New York group closely associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement. During the 1940s, Still developed a personal style of abstraction distinguished by deeply troweled surfaces and expanses of rich color. Responding to a variety of sources, from the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche to the art of Native Americans, Still sought to evoke in his work the power of primordial nature and primal symbolism. The painting 1948-C, reveals the painter's expressive gesture in its characteristic jagged forms and richly textured surface and his reduced subject of suggestive shapes within fields of color. His practice of using dates and letters to identify canvases reflected the Abstract Expressionists' efforts to transcend the bounds of language and communicate on a universal level. Still experimented with technique by varying the color, texture, and shapes within similar canvases; several variants of the composition of 1948-C, exits. This painting is notable for the subtle variation of its intense golden hues, while the bright yellow streak across the upper right energizes the composition with the force of a lighting bolt. Combining sublime color with emotive mystery, 1948-C exemplifies Still's mastery of color and texture in an expansive field. Text adapted from &quot;Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden: 150 Works of Art&quot; (1996) entry by Judith Zilzcer.
Kenneth Snelson American, born Pendleton, Oregon, 1927 Needle Tower, 1968 Aluminum and stainless steel 720 x 243-1/2 x 213-3/8 in. (1828.8 x 618.5 x 541.8 cm) Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1974 (74.4) Kenneth Snelson conceived and built Needle Tower in 1968 as part of his exhibition of five monumental sculptures in New York's Bryant Park. In these works, he adapted engineering principles and mathematical calculations to create a new kind of tensile structure. Instead of the solid mass and weight traditionally expected of monumental sculptures, the tapered, five-story-high Needle Tower is made from aviation-quality aluminum tubes and stainless-steel wire, making it lightweight enough for three installers to lift. The tubes are held together in perfect balance by a single continuous wire threaded through two small holes in the ends of each. The tower rests only on the thin rims of three tubes, yet the structure is so well designed that it withstands severe storms. While the technology is fascinating, the sculpture also conveys a metaphysical message. Snelson's idea evolved from a fantasy he had of constructing a gossamer tensile structure so tall and finely tapered that the top point would seem to disappear into infinity. Standing directly under the sculpture and looking up, the viewer discovers that the tubes form the shape of a star, inspiring the astrophysical, astrological, and religious associations of that symbol, while heightening the sense of perpetuity. Adapted from text written by Valerie J. Fletcher.
Line art_Art Appreciation
Simplicity to Complexity in terms of line . . .
The Obvious STRAIGHT HORIZONTAL VERTICAL DIAGONAL
BOTTOM LINE The concept of line plays a role in compositions of music and art, ranging from the simple to the complex.
LINE What is a line in Art? Line – a series of points; an area whose length is considerably greater than its width; an indication of direction, an apparent movement. A line is a point moved or moving through space. This applies to drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, clay/pottery, and architecture. Characteristics of lines: lines can be actual or implied ; a line which denotes or describes an outside edge of an object is a contour line . A contour line divides the plane or delineates an edge of a volume. A directional line points or moves the eye in a particular direction. Horizontal – often read as across, quiet, stable. Vertical: reaching up, spiritual, uplifting, rising. Diagonal: dynamic, moving. Lines can be interpreted as having expressive qualities; particular qualities – thick or thin, weighty or straight, hard-edged or soft – can indicate moods or feelings. ON HANDOUT