Monday, July 1, 2013

Along With "Plastics"...."Networks"

Joan Miro's Constellations Paintings -- Networks?


For a while Joan Miro practiced pure automatism as advocated by the Surrealists.

Soon, however, a horde of neatly described if unidentifiable monsters invaded his stage. In the early thirties, geometrical abstraction reached its high water mark, and Miro was influenced by the painters Mondrian, Leger and Arp -- his forms became less anecdotal, his compositions more severe. Even so, he remained himself.

In 1936, the specter of civil war rose over Spain. Again Miro was affected -- his fantastic scenes became anguished, oppressive -- the dreams turned into nightmare.

When the Second World War broke out, Miro then left a collapsed France. Miro sought shelter amidst the stars -- or rather behind them. In the cacophony of a demented world, his “Constellations” captured an echo of the music of the spheres.

Artist Carroll Dunham has written, "Beginning around 1924 Miro gradually cut himself free from most of the things that had previously given painting its 'look.' From our present cultural perspective we have trouble really feeling the radicality and depth of some early Modernism, which can look fussy and illustrational to us.

But it's important to see how radical this work was--nothing like it had appeared before. Miro's break and subsequent blossoming obviously didn't occur in a vacuum, but they have a special quality. He was close in spirit to the prehistoric artists of Altamira and Lascaux; the impulses in the work seem 'human' rather than 'Modern"'or 'European.' There is a wonderful comfort with playfulness and sexuality in the work. He achieved a scale and an openness several generations ahead of the conventional wisdom in painting, and he integrated language into his imagery through the collapse of writing and drawing into one activity. The implications of all this are still being explored."

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