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Stimmung I

Stimmung I, 12 x 16 in, oil on canvas

I often refer to my works as atmospheres.  Not a cloudscape or abstract landscape, but more a sensualness of a landscape–the feeling, emotion, mood that is evoked from a landscape or our relationship to it.  The word stimmung has presented itself periodically in my readings on art, most often by Wassilly Kandinsky who references the “stimmung” (roughly translated as the sentiment) of an artwork as “the lofty emotions beyond words” that enables artworks to “fulfill their purpose and feed the spirit.” In his study of the German word Stimmung, Leo Spitzer explores the unity of such feelings between persons and their environments.  He writes “Stimmung is fused with the landscape, which in turn is animated by the feeling of man–it is an indissoluble unit into which man and nature are integrated.”  Many artists in Europe used the word “Stimmung” to describe this poetic quality in a painting. “Stimmung” is a German word that means “mood” or “tuning.” It’s a noun form of “stimmen,” which means to tune one’s voice, but it refers not only the outward voice, but the inward voice of the soul. As such it has deep musical and poetic associations beyond the visual arts alone.

I’ve collected up some writings which explore this idea, most by German turn of the century art theorists or philosophers and some by contemporary writers on poetry–so that I can deepen my knowledge of this aethetic idea.  At the same time I intend to create a series of works influenced by these readings and my interpretations and deeper understanding.  The painting above takes into consideration the ideals of mood and abstraction–yet clearly maintains a sense of natural space.

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