Beyond Representation

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Green Monochrome - Small Square Monochrome Painting #1506, 1992
paint, painting, nature of art material, nature of painting, post-modern, forms traditions of Modernism, challenging art history, artist challenges own work, naming tradition in art, origin of art history, exhibiting art, pun, representation, new way to think about a work of art, material, substance, light, new name for artist, spiritual act, use of colour, Baroque artwork as inspiration, colour, pure colour, display ing artwork, cultural environment, naming tradition in art, framing a work, artwork and frame indivisible, history of painting, artwork as containing frame, world as frame for artwork, conceptual frame, art relies on framing, framing a work of art, artwork as about material, artwork as material, pun, mono, chroma, surface finishes in painting, , laaquer painting, painting surfaces, elements of art, Modernism, frames and borders, history of painting, frames, monochrome, traditions,
description

Green Monochrome is, in a way, a  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  about painting. In modern art critic Clement Greenberg’s vision of perfect modernism, painting was about paint itself, the nature of the material, its consistency, its textures and capabilities. But Eckart is post-modern, in body, if not in spirit, and what he gives us is a painting that uses the forms and traditions of  modernismAn art movement characterized by the deliberate departure from tradition and the use of innovative forms of expression that distinguish many styles in the arts and literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Modernism refers to this period's interest in: new types of paints and other materials expressing feelings, ideas, fantasies, and dreams instead of the visual world we otherwise see creating abstractions, rather than representing what is real a rejection of naturalistic colour a use of choppy, clearly visible brushstrokes the acceptance of line, form, colour, and process as valid subject matter by themselves a requirement that the audience take a more active role as interpreter. Each viewer must observe carefully, and get information about the artist's intentions and environment, before forming judgments about the work. Paul Cézanne (French, 1839-1906) is often called the "Father of Modernism." The modern period is generally thought to have been followed by the one we are in now — most often called postmodern. Although some prefer to call it late modern. (Artlex.com)  to challenge them. And as he challenges the historical precedent of his own work, he is secretly challenging all of art history.

start quoteAs I am an artist who emerged, arguably, at the end of the history of painting and the end of the history of abstraction my relationship to both is what I would call archeological and anthropological.end quote-- Christian Eckart

One example of such a challenge involves frames. We are accustomed to frames being used to show us the borders of a work of art. The frame is a protective device, true, but rarely is a frame built with only structural concerns in mind. In Green Monochrome, Eckart has built the work such that the metal “framing” the perimeter of the square is indivisible from the part we might otherwise call the “painting.” His container is therefore indivisible from that which it contains. If we think about this in relation to framing, as Eckart seems to suggest we ought to, then we are compelled to imagine the history of painting as one that relies as much on its frames as it does on its works. We could then consider that the whole of the world is the  frameSomething made to enclose a picture or a mirror; or an enclosure composed of parts and joined together; or to make such things. (Artlex.com)  for every work of art; the location, cultural environment, and social roles of the work of art are like its conceptual frame, informing, and being informed by, the work of art itself.

This work is slick, cold, and very modern. It is nevertheless also about its own material. We might assume that the artist wants us to consider this based on the  punA joke that makes use of different meanings of a word or the similar pronunciation of two words. For example, referring to "jeans" when the situation applies to "genes", or referring to a "box" (place to hold something) when the situation calls for the word "box" (the physical activity).   he has included in the title--monochrome can refer to the green square in the middle, as it is a single  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  (“mono” meaning one, and “chroma” meaning colour) or to the singularity of the reflective, metallic finish (also called “chrome”) of the frame. Besides, this work does not merely possess the “single colour” of the green square; there are actually two colours if we consider also the silver-grey structure around it. The artist therefore might be suggesting that while the naming  traditionTradition is the passing along of a culture from generation to generation, especially orally. Or, a custom or set of customs handed down in this way. The idea of heritage is related to that of tradition. Any activity — as a pattern of celebration, ritual, or other behaviour, etc. — is traditional once it is a precedent influencing comparable activities in the future. (Artlex.com)  (and therefore art history) considers only the central focus of a work, we would be wise to consider the framing of that work in whatever sense of the word “framing”, as also being an essential part of the work.

 

additional resources Things to Think About

Christian Eckart used a special enamel on the central green portion of his painting. This enamel is usually used to paint cars and machinery. How might this original use of the paint relate to the  contentThe subject matter of a work of art and what it suggests about that subject matter. This includes the ways in which that work of art can be plausibly interpreted.  of the work discussed above, specifically its title? How might car culture relate to the  BaroqueThe art style or art movement of the Counter-Reformation in the seventeenth century. Although some features appear in Dutch art, the Baroque style was limited mainly to Catholic countries. It is a style in which painters, sculptors, and architects sought emotion, movement, and variety in their works. (Artlex.com)  period in painting? It may be important to research Baroque  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  in creating your answer.  See the following sites for some information on Baroque painting.

If you were to relate this work to a time period, would it necessarily be the Baroque (1600s)? Would it even be in the past?

Green was not the only  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  Eckart used for this series. How might the work look different if another  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  was substituted? How might we react to the work if, instead of green, the central square was red, blue, or yellow?

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Matching pictures and frames

In Green Monochrome:  Small Square Monochrome  PaintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  #1506, 1992, Eckart has built the work such that the metal “framing” the perimeter of the square is indivisible from the part we might otherwise call the “painting.” His container is therefore indivisible from that which it contains.  In this activity, you will explore the more traditional  conceptAn idea, thought, or notion conceived through mental activity. The words concept and conception are applied to mental formulations on a broad scale. (Artlex.com)  of the frame.

Match the following images to the frames below.  Click on and drag each image into the  frameSomething made to enclose a picture or a mirror; or an enclosure composed of parts and joined together; or to make such things. (Artlex.com)  you have chosen.

 

Studio Activity

Christian Eckart's painting, Green Monochrome:  Small Square Monochrome  PaintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  #1506, 1992, is seductively smooth and luminous.  The process used to produce this glowing  surface(an element of art) The outer or topmost boundary or layer of an object. Colours on any surface are determined by how incident rays of light strike it, and how a surface reflects, scatters, and absorbs those rays. The material qualities of a surface, as well as its form and texture further determine how it is seen and felt. (artlex.com) See also texture.  is similar to that used to paint the family car and involves the layering of many coats of automobile paint on metal.  The protective  frameSomething made to enclose a picture or a mirror; or an enclosure composed of parts and joined together; or to make such things. (Artlex.com)  surrounding Eckart’s painted surface is made of chrome and completes the flamboyant image and also references the decoration on the automobile.  Eckart targets popular culture, mass-production and the automobile and explores society's fascination with speed and spectacle.

Renaissance and  BaroqueThe art style or art movement of the Counter-Reformation in the seventeenth century. Although some features appear in Dutch art, the Baroque style was limited mainly to Catholic countries. It is a style in which painters, sculptors, and architects sought emotion, movement, and variety in their works. (Artlex.com)   paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  also influences Eckart’s work.  He incorporates contrast, and ideas of ornamentation and movement to produce a rich opulence in his work.  Italian artists were at the forefront of  RenaissanceA revival or rebirth of cultural awareness and learning that took place during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, particularly in Italy, but also in Germany and other European countries. The period was characterized by a renewed interest in ancient Greek and Roman art and design and included an emphasis on human beings, their environment, science, and philosophy. (Artlex.com)  and  BaroqueThe art style or art movement of the Counter-Reformation in the seventeenth century. Although some features appear in Dutch art, the Baroque style was limited mainly to Catholic countries. It is a style in which painters, sculptors, and architects sought emotion, movement, and variety in their works. (Artlex.com)  painting, and today, Italy is known for innovative  designA plan, or to plan. The organization or composition of a work; the skilled arrangement of its parts. An effective design is one in which the elements of art and principles of design have been combined to achieve an overall sense of unity. Also [applied design], the production of attractive and well crafted functional objects. Subcategories of the design arts include: architecture, bonsai, fashion design, furniture design, graphic design, ikebana, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, stagecraft, textile design, and Web page design. (Artlex.com)  in luxury and everyday products.

  • There is an interesting play on words in the title of Eckart‘s Green Monochrome.  Title an art work you have created using an interesting play on words.
References

Author unknown.  2006.  Christian Eckart.  Exhibition announcement.  McClain Gallery, Houston, Texas.  Retrieved from the internet on February 21, 2009 from:  http://www.mcclaingallery.com/featured/Eckart.html

Author unknown.  Christian Eckart.  Trépanier Baer Gallery, Calgary, Alberta.  Retrieved from the Internet on February 21, 2009 from:  http://www.trepanierbaer.com/artists.asp?ArtistID=25

 

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