By Charles A. Riley II
This suite of short and vigorous essays, dependent principally on interviews and studio visits, explores what Charles A. Riley II calls 'one of the main important (and misunderstood) inventive forces in glossy artwork, structure, track, dance, literature, and philosophy: the pursuit of perfection.' Riley examines many modern figures who exemplify the ascetic impulse of their paintings and existence. those artists tested during the lens of asceticism, function focal issues in Riley's attention of cultural concerns reminiscent of the function of spirituality in modern artwork, the interplay of Western and Asian traditions, and the connection among the artists' lives and paintings.
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Extra info for The saints of modern art : the ascetic ideal in contemporary painting, sculpture, architecture, music, dance, literature, and philosophy
O! remain not by the fountain of Human Sorrow; The joys others seek, are not for you. Return! Return! unto the worlds from whence you came! 22 Tobey returned to the United States in 1938 to live in Seattle as a WPA artist; there he studied with the Zen master Takizaka as well as with Japanese artists like Paul Horiuchi and George Tsutakawa, who helped him learn sumi flung-ink painting. Works such as Composition Number One (1957) are clearly indebted to his advanced work in sumi. The first of the "white writing" pieces were shown at the Willard Gallery in New York in 1944, the same year that Tobey began his long friendship with Lionel Feininger, whose crystalline style is important to keep in mind.
The first of the "white writing" pieces were shown at the Willard Gallery in New York in 1944, the same year that Tobey began his long friendship with Lionel Feininger, whose crystalline style is important to keep in mind. Tobey spent time in New York in 1954, living on Irving Place and working on the important Lights and Meditative series. The following year he traveled to England and Switzerland, including Basel, where he would settle in 1960 until his death at age eightyfive. The Bearable Lightness of Being Those are the bare particulars of a life, somewhat like John Cage's, spent trying to avoid the distractions and conflicts of family life and the more public art careers that were blossoming at the same time.
Tobey seems to have joined the stars in order to gaze down on earth and planets from above. Page 53 In his later work, Tobey introduced a dark border to frame the squiggling linear forms within, as in Ritual Fire (1960) and the strong blue ground of Homage to Rameau (1960) bordered in black and using a looser, more calligraphic stroke to intermingle long, looping lines of white across a black ground, which in turn is swallowed up in a rectangle of opaque blue. Although it suggests the work of Paul Klee, who used the same colors to paint a portrait of Casals playing the cello, the atmospherics of Tobey are different from the more diagrammatic work of Klee.