Saturday, February 23

Early Sunday Morning

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Of course in this image I'm influenced by Edward Hopper. Has anyone who has seen his paintings not influenced by him? He's like that tune you can't stop whistling. His color palettes and drawing techniques are so American. It's amazing to me that Hopper came along so early in the last century and yet still influences designers of the hottest cutting edge films.

Hopper’s most cherished paintings are seventy to ninety years old now and his oils have darkened, lending a brooding mood to what were probably much lighter statements. I thought about cranking down the vibrancy of Early Sunday Morning over Lancaster but wondered whether I’d be influenced by Hopper or by what’s come to be considered Hopper as his messages to us pass through time.

Look at this darker take on Early Sunday Morning. I’ve incorporated what Hopper’s critics now call his poem to urban American drabness. They say that this darkened palette captures suspended moments of great pessimistic clarity even as a new day dawns. Maybe, or maybe he bought a box of oils that lacked archival permanence.

Suppose I’m right. Suppose that Hopper painted in the vivacious hues of the image I’ve led with up above. So what are we to think of his ideas today? Or are they his ideas? If it is your intention to build a grand three story building and long after your death a quake levels it to a cute one story structure… Can we judge your intent from what’s left?

And doesn’t the same thing happen when the image stays exactly the same as you intended and culture changes over the years? When different eyes and minds interpret your image, are the ideas and feelings that are communicated yours?

Yeah, I’m influenced by Edward Hopper’s paintings. But, I wonder how much I’m influenced by what forty-something Edward Hopper set out to communicate seventy five years ago? And I wonder if future generations visit my work, or yours, how much that we intend our images to carry to them will have faded in the overlay of their beliefs?

Which leads me to a question: At the moment you release a work into the wild, do you retain any control over its meaning? Is any other meaning as valid as yours? I think that what comes through a time tunnel is what the people on the other side want to come through. And it is quite possible that relatively little, if any of your intentions will withstand the scrubbing of time.

3 comments:

pnfphotography said...

Morning I like the vivid color of the first image for sure and did a google search on Edward Hopper and liked what I saw. I have never been one to know many artist work by name. I think it would be interesting to see if future generations see what we see when we create an image. I often feel I see things in "equine" images only other equine fanatics can see so I do think your thought on this is something to ponder on.

Second - I adore the work you did on the triptych and that is what I was seeing just not able to achieve with my very limited skills!!!! I am thrilled to see what you do with images I see as your creative flair is something that brings a huge smile to my face as well as keeps me spurred on to learn more about photo shop. Thank you for the INSPIRATION!

advman said...

Hmm ... these are more than interesting thoughts. I guess it is a little like the old metaphor of a piece of art being a child that you have to release. You can have some influence, but only up to a certain moment, then your piece of art begins to interact with its recipients, all by itself, and there is nothing you can do.

Still, we are very privileged. What chance did the artists of the early Middle Ages have to communicate? The tradition is broken, we don't have any direct reports. And to a higher degree this is true for the Maya, Inca and the artists on Easter Island. For us this is no problem at all. Even when once there will be no Ted Byrne any more, even when there will be no living person who has known him, there will always be ImageFiction in Google's caches. Quite a difference, huh??

Thus, as long as we don't suffer global atomic destruction, there will be so much information about everyone of us, that future historians will have more material than they'll be able to digest.

mcmurma said...

At the risk of sounding overly redundant, I think I'm in agreement with Advman. So I'll start with, what he said...

The spaces between an artists intent and the viewers interpretations are always, I believe, going to be at odds. If for no other reason than simply because we all come from different backgrounds and circumstances that cause us to think and feel somewhat differently from one another. Given this initial variable, I'm not sure how much a difference the age of a piece is likley to make on the on the viewers overall impression.

It no doubt depends on a great number of things, but my thinking is that, as long as the damage is not too bad, the core of an artists intent will be retained and communicated as long as there is some "feeling" left in the work.

Of course, deterioration may alter, or even change the meaning of a piece as time rolls along, but (as Advman points out) the world is an ever changing place. So this is to be expected.

Besides, esoterics notwithstanding, the mediums of artistic expression are always subject to the materials at hand. If I have nothing but crude pigments of yellow and red, no brush available but the tip of my finger, then the wall of a cave would seem a suitable canvas. That the cave might later be subjected to periodic floods that could damage or even destroy my work is something I may be at a loss to anticipate.

As for my recollection of art history, I'm afraid Hopper had completely slipped my mind. When I set out upon the net to learn something, I realized that I was indeed familiar with many of his works, even though the name of the artist had been lost to memory.

Great image, and it does very much contain the flavor of some of Hopper's works. Add the worderful words and it all makes for some great food for thought.