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honoria in ciberspazio

gallery + reflections

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weekend thoughts
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... finished reading Edwards' New drawing on the right side of the brain and pondering ways Edwards' work gives students license to relax and at the same time focus while looking at a model or still life. Love that negative space... Comparing Right Brain and Bauhaus/Kandinsky is fun. Kandinsky gave students some amazing things to do in anaylitic drawing such as connecting dots in point distribution structures to serve as compositional elements and tensions in a drawing or painting. He assigned colors to forms: yellow-triangle, red-square, blue-circle. And one I'm going to have some fun with -- angles in relation to color hues:

The acute angle is characterized as the "tensest..thus also the warmest"...and therefore it is "highly active" and corresponds to yellow. The obtuse angle he regarded as passive and cold and matched with blue. Since it combines the vertical and horizontal, the right angle, according to Kandinsky, achieves an equilibrium in temperature and thus is associated with red. Moreover, Kandinsky provided diagrams of angles as they relate to the colors including the intermediary hues orange and violet. The acute angles are yellow (30 degrees), and orange (60 degrees), the right angle is red (90 degrees), and the obtuse angles are violet (120 degrees) and blue (150 degrees). (Poling, page 76)

There are some amazing Bauhaus student interpretations of these angle/color combinations illustrating the Poling book. Kandinsky's underlying rules gave students freedom to play even though the structure of the assignment seems rigid. There are infinite interpretations within the color/angle/shape rules. Also it's interesting to look for the rules inside Kandinsky's own paintings.

I can't find any images of the Bauhaus student projects on the web. I just ordered the out-of-print book: Kandinsky's Teaching at the Bauhaus by Clark V. Poling and am eager to do some of the Bauhaus student projects in color/angles and point distribution.

Has anyone you know experimented with the Bauhaus curriculum?

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None of the Bauhaus students were as successful or as well known as their instructors. Doesn't give me a lot of confidence in their curriculm.

About all I use are Alber's color theories and Paul Klee's drawing and design ideas. Kandinsky's is nonsensical mysticism that doesn't play out visually.

mysticism or obtuse angles

The underpinnings of Kandinsky's paintings, whatever those foundations are -- either rules of color and form or spirituality, actually DO play out visually in his paintings since he is a great painter. If you don't think he's a great painter, then maybe you could blame mysticism or violet obtuse angles.

I am teaching from a packaged online curriculum that is very pragmatic so I am particularly inspired by the writings about the Bauhaus curriculum and the ways that Bauhaus artists/teachers distilled the structures and processes of their art to communicate to their students. The color and form structures are particularly useful in my current color theory class which is heavily Albers, who can be pretty poetic, but visually monolithically mystic.

I'd say the opposite, that he is seen as a great artist because of the quality of his work despite his theories about it. You can learn much more by looking at it rather than reading what he based it on. Most if not all artists don't know what they are really up to. It rubs me democrartically wrong when he says it takes a more sensitive highly evolved soul (like him?) to get something special from art.

Him saying that "Not without reason is white taken as symbolizing joy and
spotless purity, and black grief and death." shows major cultural bias.

His linking of specific color names to music notes, form and emotions is suspect in that regard too. Yellow=triangle, yellow=the note D, "Yellow is the typically earthly colour. It can never have profound meaning.", “warm,” “cheeky and exciting,” “disturbing for people, “compared with the mood of a person it could have the effect of representing madness in color [...] an attack of rage, blind madness, maniacal rage, =loud, sharp trumpets, high fanfares. To a european maybe yes, other cultures not really and probably not.

Anyway, he was romantic and that's something that I can admire in the midst of our material world.

Albers is much more practical as far as practice with what happens in the combination of color.
So anyway, Kandinsky seems to have had synesthesia, especially when it came to music. You might be interested in the current exhibition at the Hirshhorn, "Visual Music".

Yes, Albers is more practical but Kandinsky is Russian and passionate. The Bauhaus curriculum contains fascsinating combinations because there was community of artists learning from each other. Their learning/creating community gave us a second level of insights into their creative processes because they were articulating what they were learning in order to teach it. You may read Kandinsky's words at face value as statements, but I also see his application of form/color rules as challenges to students and to himself; challenges to use the colors in structured poetic compositional experiments. In summary, Albers puts me to sleep and Kandinsky makes me want to get up and dance with twirling rainbows, Russian Sable paintbrushes and a thousand sheets of paper.

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