Tuesday, January 27, 2009

System Artist: John Cage

I find it interesting that John Cage, a well-known American musician and composer, also painted and made prints. The images above are from his 1989 series "Stones." Initially I took interest in these images because of the way Cage represents the stones; that is, with simple primary contour lines, many of which are not even full circles. The non-centered, overlapping placement of the stones on the page also reminded me of my own blind contour drawings.
I thought these images were interesting because of the contrast between the jumbled stones and the rest of the otherwise blank paper. Although the images do not look literally "clean" because of the various smudge marks, at the same time emptiness of certain parts of the images do convey a cleanness or simplicity to me. However, upon further reading I learned that the images are "washed" with smoke so as to add the "smudges" of what I thought were ink. This is most visible in the uppermost photo I have posted. It's also interesting to think about a print, presumably able to be mass-produced, also being treated individually for a more visually stimulating, complex piece.

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