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  • Writer's picturesharonkingston

Some thoughts on abstraction

For a few years I took my atmospheres to a largely non-objective form inspired by Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko. If you go to my website now you’ll find one remaining work. I think I lost interest because of Instagram. I worked so hard to infuse my spaces with meaning—like those icons of the 50s—but now because of this here platform you can scroll through and find one example after another of meaningless blobs of color and form called abstract painting that generate thousands of likes by the masses. No intention with most of this work. Or sometimes someone will take a single intention and extrapolate onto many many iterations of the same thing. Neither Joan or Helen did such a thing with their abstractions. Every single piece they made carried its own specific intention. This particular painting of mine, titled ‘reconciling the ill-matched threads’ came from a Rilke quote that felt very personal at the time. And maybe even more relevant in this moment with these thoughts. To bring this idea to life on canvas I looked to the threads of my history. German heritage. A seamstress mother and a printer father. I dropped in threadlike washes a beginning layer of German earth pigment. I allowed peeks into this earthy beginning. I then layered transparent color to create an open space that felt like cloth. Similar in manner to how the four color printing process works. This open space was to symbolize the area outside of my history that I created for myself to grow while still retaining the elements of my family. It is only through these intentional actions that any of this abstraction is worthy of me spending time in the making.


From Rilke. She who reconciles the ill-matched threads Of her life, and weaves them gratefully Into a single cloth – It’s she who drives the loudmouths from the hall

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