Claire Watkins, Untitled / Lungs, (2012) at Cynthia Reeves.
Adolph Gottlieb, Labyrinth No. 2, 1950
From the Tate Gallery:
Gottlieb continued to make pictographs until 1953. (See ‘The Alchemist’, also in this room.) Many of them resembled early forms of communication, for example Egyptian hieroglyphs. One pictograph was titled ‘Letter to a Friend’. Gottlieb’s later pictographs show the influence of Paul Klee and a move away from an interest in myth. He stated that during the Second World War he ‘just dropped the whole idea of classical mythology as subject matter and decided that the proper subject for me was subjective free-association of images and symbols which I couldn’t explain.’
Adolph Gottlieb, The Seer, 1950
From the Phillips Collection:
Over the course of a decade, Gottlieb painted more than 500 pictographs, which refer to the archaic art he saw in the American Southwest and to the art of non-Western cultures. Gottlieb’s paintings, with their loose grids enclosing cryptic symbols, resemble the pictographic writing of ancient cultures—whose meaning is often mysterious to the modern mind. Pictographs also represented Gottlieb’s distinctive solution to the aims of abstract expressionism: to instill paintings with meaning not limited to particular cultures, times, or places. This concern arose from the disillusionment of World War II, as well as dissatisfaction with earlier intellectual artistic approaches of the abstractionists and the insular, conservative style of American regionalist painters.
Gottlieb emphasized the primitive content of his pictographs by using colors derived from cave painting and Native American art—slate gray, tan, black, and clay, often applied in layers to suggest archaeological stages. In The Seer, Gottlieb emphasized the archaeological quality of the color by adding sand to the paint. The boldly drawn totemic designs make numerous references to the human body—the stick figure in the upper right corner, the four-finger motifs along the bottom and right side, and the repeated eye motif. The eye, derived from surreal and primitive art, appears frequently in his pictographs and may suggest the artist’s vision.
“Minimum Monument” by brazilian artist Néle Azevedo, presented as part of the Festival of Queen’s in Belfast, Northern Ireland
The Sequence - Urban Sculpture by Arne Quinze in Brussels