It’s an intriguing title for a book and so I bought it. The full title is Pictures of Nothing – Abstract Art Since Pollock by Kirk Varnedow (see it here Amazon). The book deals heavily with minimalism, both two-dimensional and 3-dimensional. This is not any easy read for a newbee, but I’ve been pushing through it.

I have very mixed feelings about the work presented. I often think that the writing is better than the art. Some of the work just doesn’t stand up to any standard I have self  imposed. At the same time the book is making me stretch my internal definitions somewhat. I suspect that I will continue to have a real problem looking at what is basically piled trash as art.

However, I do like simplicity in my work, minimalism if you will, and felt that the book would help me look at that element in a new way. And so it has. My reading experience so far leaves me looking at the figures in the book a new way. I get the sense that if what is presented is art, then anything can be art, and if anything can be art, then maybe everything is art. That can be a bit overwhelming. I look at the pen on my desk and see it as a conical form instead of a writing instrument. Heck, my daughter’s rather messy room (clearly not minimalism) may be seen as an installation maybe.

I don’t know where this book will leave me, but it is giving me ideas, and that is alright.



2 thoughts on “Pictures of Nothing

  1. “…anything can be art, and if anything can be art, then maybe everything is art.” Take out the “maybe.” In my view, it is only our view/attitude/perception that separates what is or is not art. I accept that if I do not “see it,” it is my lacking. (This logic applied to viewers of photos/art/etc. does go in a different direction, & that’s a different subject.)

    The cosmos around us offers itself up without cost; accept it as a gift. To follow the metaphor, when you open it up & show it to the room, that’s a photograph. What you show & how you show it is your gift (as talent) to yourself & the viewers in the room.

    When you can present an image of nothing (no subject, graphic element, or contrast, literally no thing), that works, that would be an achievement.

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