My Nemesis works align with the formalist concerns of painting, with art as an infinitely codified expressive language. The European forbears of this aesthetic had a core principal of radical realignment of society; that the social role of the arts as a humanizing force must be introduced as a common replicable form to raise human consciousness and evolve ourselves beyond the possibility of future Total Wars. This is often dismissed as Utopian Art, ignoring the role of the arts as the personification of the ineffable and the language of the unsayable (think of formal minimalism as an equivalent to YHWY / Yahwey / Jehovah and we see the alignment of art to religion as a synonymous form) . The fine art term Constructivism describes a Modernist movement in Russia during the early to mid-20th century. A core principal was the now ubiquitous concept of "the media is the message". This meant using modern industrial media to construct pure form via methods that were industrial. This describes my method of sculptural painting, as all forms are created using die-cuts from industrially produced paint chips. The artist El Lissitzky termed his Constructivist endeavors as Prounen or Proun; 3D space wherein 2D shapes contrast in purity of form. Russian Constructivism is similar to the De Stijl movement of the Dutch, in an ideal of bridging the moral imperative of pure form with modern life through fine arts and architecture and industrial production. A prominent artist of the De Stijl movement was Van Doesburg (you thought I was going to say Piet Mondrion), who explained his work as Elemantarism, emphasizing the purity of dynamic formal structure to express the spiritual in art. Russian painter Kazimir Malevich established many of the core principals of this aesthetic in his painting philosophy of Suprematism. Contemporary to these movements is the German school of The Bauhaus wherein Joseph Albers created his Homage to the Square, Laslo Maholy-Nagy investigated tonal shifts subdividing pure shape, and Vassily Kandinsky expressed pure abstraction as the direct language of the spiritual in fine art.
These Nemesis sculptural painting exercises have deep roots in Modernism, exploring the ideals of Formalism before the fine arts divorced from the language of painting as defined by painters. This divorce from the language of structure is often termed "The End Of Art" as the concerns of the artist were no longer associated with the intellectual depths of media and form. Abstract Expressionism was a limited American stylistic investigation of core visual principals of European artist/intellectuals. This emergent American style was encouraged by contemporary art critic Clement Greenberg who endeavored to retain the traditional language of painting as a core concern of the visual arts. It is important to emphasize that the European artists brought their full intellectual depths of the complexity of creating significant art relevant to the new paradigms of the 20th century. This intellectual depth of the artist was not the driver of American sensibilities, state-side aesthetics allowed Greenberg to define the intellectual stylistic paradigm wherein artists competed to find authentic explorations within an imposed stylistic rubric. Greenberg established his conceptions upon the arts-theory essays of Hans Hofmann, a European emigre who had been inspired by attending Bauhaus lectures of Vassily Kandinsky. This game of telephone involving core principals of fine arts set dubious formal parameters upon the nascent artists of the United States effectively subverting the artist of their role in society; it did lead to a vibrant American style that arrived at the height of the Cold War and was commodified to serve as the prime signifier of alignment with American interests abroad. This quickly goes down a rabbit hole well discussed by critics such as Robert Hughes.