I am rather fascinated by how non-representational mark making is able to express so many varied emotions. This means that the marks must contain some form of inner significance – one that is able to trigger our thoughts, transport us back to a memory, and resonate with us.
On second thought, however, it makes sense that non-representational marks are able to express our feelings. Emotions are not thoughts after all. They are not literal, not tangible, and not exactly rational. It follows that expressive mark making is indeed an apt medium to portray them.
To learn more about mark making as well as to source for inspirations, here are some artists whom I have researched on:
Ed Moses is an American abstract artist. To him, art is about “exploring the phenomenal world”. Since the phenomenal world is so diverse and impermanent, it comes as no surprise that Ed Moses’ approach to art is highly experimental. It is quite obvious from his works that he refrains from being limited to a certain style.
Ed Moses does not consciously dictate what to do in front of a canvas and is happy to accept whatever ‘accidents’ and mistakes as part of his artistic process.
Some of his works:
Love the subtle use of red!
The bright red stripe is so bold and striking!
Personally, Ed Moses’ paintings are really enchanting. He varies the transparency of paint, fracture lines abruptly, and smears paints across the canvas liberally, allowing the elements to emerge from and sink in the canvas – just like the ebb and flow of waves
Andy Warhol was an American artist and a leading figure of the Pop Art movement who played an influential role in contemporary art and culture.
Rorschach is a series of paintings that Warhol made in 1984. These paintings are essentially ‘ink blots’, with inspiration drawn from “The Ink Blot test” created by Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach. Patients had to interpret ink blots presented to them, while psychologist would help to decipher their mental and emotional states based on what they perceive.
Interestingly, Warhol misunderstood the clinical process and thought that the patients were supposed to create their own ink blots for the psychologist to decipher – which led to the creation of the Rorschach paintings.
Warhol used the pour-and-fold technique, which helped him to achieve symmetry.
The paintings are huge!!
Sol LeWitt was an American artist who played a leading role in the Conceptual Movement. He placed great emphasis on the concept or idea of his work, rendering inherent narrative and descriptive imagery to be unimportant. As seen from his works, they are all non-representational.
His artistic explorations were systematic: they generally dealt with geometric elements and patterns – visually appealing nevertheless. Interestingly, as he stresses on the importance of ‘concept’, for large part of his wall drawings, LeWitt only conceive and plan them – the actual works are usually executed by draftsman.
LeWitt believes “each person draws a line differently and each person understands words differently”. This is one of the reason he chose to let draftsmen carry out his plan:
Draftsman inject their own interpretation of the plan into the actual work, allowing the final work to morph into something elusively different from the original plan, yet it is still the same artwork. Any misinterpretation or error made by the draftsman are accepted as part of the work.
I have a curious observation, that is – although these three artists differ greatly in style, all three embrace mistakes and ‘accidents’ as part of the artistic process. They do not eliminate them, but rather generously and happily incorporate them into the final work. This is something I should learn from them and not be fearful of committing errors. I should always keep an open mind and be willing to continuously experiment with new ideas.