torn halves

Abstraction in photography had its roots in modernism. We can think of László Moholgy-Nagy,  Aaron SiskindMan Ray, Paul Outerbridge, Barbara Kasten  amongst others.

Clement Greenberg championed abstraction in painting, condemned the literal in painting and held that abstraction was central to the goal of all modernist artists, to rid art of all that was extraneous to it. To achieve autonomy, painting has hadto divest itself of everything it might share with sculpture, and to exclude the representational or literary.

However, he welcomed the literal in photography.  In his essay 'Four Photographers' he says:

The art in photography is literary art before it is anything else: its triumphs and monuments are historical, antecdotal, reportorial onservsational before they are purely pictorial...The photograph has a story to tell if it is to work as art.

In Greenberg's view the medium of photography was transparent and  documentary. The inference is that photography was not a part of abstract modernist movement. Photography was seen to be elbowing into the  modernist art context of abstract expressionism. 

Today, ironically, it is photography's exploration of the literary, or interpretating literary themes, (eg. Jeff Wall) that is celebrated by an art institutionthat links it to earlier developments in painting. Recent large scale museum photography---Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall, and Thomas Demand--- fits tightly into the history of painting and the pictorial tradition. 

abstract photography: intoduction

Abstract photography is about using a camera not to represent something but to create a feeling, form  or sensation through the use of shape, color, texture, light and shadow. It challenges the  popular view of photography as an objective image of reality by reasserting its constructed nature.

Non-representational photography lives in the contested middle ground between material reality and photographic illusion or fiction.   It rejects photography's documentary dimension in favor of other possibilities, somewhere between painting and sculpture, that include the manipulation of process and printing.

I decided to work on a  little project --a book of sea abstractions.