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Modern Art – I think I “get it!”

One definition of “art” is that is has no other purpose – it just is!

Of my many dreams whilst still working, was to pursue artistic horizons! Over the past 7 years I have embraced art in many ways; joined the NSW Art Gallery, taken lessons in Water Colour and Pastels, visits to the Australian National Gallery, the Picasso Museum in Barcelona etc. etc.

Having no formal education in art appreciation, it has been a journey of self- discovery and I never seem to tire of it. I have endless books on everything from the most basic “Teach yourself to Paint” to “The Art Museum” described on the front cover as “A complete overview of world art explained with visual clarity” (a Christmas gift from my daughter). This particular book which weighs a "ton" explains art from "Cave Man" to "Present Day" !

By comparison, my short journey into the “world of art” is a mere “drop in the ocean" compared to others who have enjoyed lifelong scholarship, however time is no measure of fulfilment. When I asked my friend Jane, who has spent a lifetime working in Art Galleries, collecting and trading in Modern Art “How do you know good modern art”? She simply said “A lot of it is “bulls..t”, it's personal taste, if the painting gives you pleasure then that’s all that matters”

My love of Modern Art has been surprising to say the least. One of the most wonderful experiences was visiting Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, in New York with him a few years ago.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (often referred to as "The Guggenheim") is a well-known art museum located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. It is the permanent home of a renowned and continuously expanding collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern and contemporary art and also features special exhibitions throughout the year. The museum was established by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1939 as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, under the guidance of its first director, the artist Hilla von Rebay. It adopted its current name after the death of its founder, Solomon R. Guggenheim, in 1952.

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the cylindrical museum building, wider at the top than the bottom, was conceived as a "temple of the spirit" and is one of the 20th century's most important architectural landmarks. The building opened on October 21, 1959, replacing rented spaces used by the museum since its founding. Its unique ramp gallery extends from just under the skylight in the ceiling in a long, continuous spiral along the outer edges of the building until it reaches the ground level. The building underwent extensive expansion and renovations from 1992 to 1993 (when an adjoining tower was built) and from 2005 to 2008. The museum's collection has grown organically, over eight decades, and is founded upon several important private collections, beginning with Solomon R. Guggenheim's original collection.

Among the absolutely spectacular collections of the Guggenheim was a painting by “Wassily Kandinsky”, simply called “Composition VIII” painted in 1923, oil on Canvas. I don’t think I could ever tire of this. “Composition VIII”, one of ten Composition Paintings created over a 30 year period, was painted during Kandinsky’s tenure as a professor at the Weimar Bauhause, the innovative art and design school in Germany. Described as both fiercely vivacious and quiet, Composition VIII ranks as one of the artist’s most important works in the years after World War 1. Composition VIII was the artist’s first methodical application of his ideas about the relationship between colour and form and his understanding of the spiritual and psychological effects. The painting also marks Kandinsky’s long association with the circle.

Composition VIII

It is difficult to explain why I love this picture but I will try. Firstly I should explain my personality.

I believe everything has a place and everything should be in its place.

The overall construction of the work appeals, it reminds me of the mathematical instruments used in geometry and design. The colours are soft and vibrant at the same time; the repetitive nature of the circles within straight lines fascinates. The large black circle with the soft “dark pink” pastel surrounding in the top left hand corner reminds me of the “sun” representing the beginning of something. This painting for me combines celestial/ spiritual elements and man’s earthly pursuits of building all things mathematical. The painting looks like the beginning of a creative architectural design process.

I like this process of “what the painting means to me?” and trying to figure out what the artist was trying to convey. It is a puzzle, and trying to figure it out is fun! A painting of a “tree “no matter how magnificent the work, is still a “tree”!

...and remember...have a fabulous retirementLIFE....

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