Art 2 – Process of Abstraction – Scully and Mehretu – Due May 9


Watch the following video and comment on what  the value of abstraction is to Scully.

Watch the video of Julie Mehretu working on a large scale mural and the video of her interview below that.

Discuss her creative process.  Consider: what do you think guides her in her creative process? Why is that little yellow square so important in its placement?  How does she decide what to add, take out, or leave in the piece?  Why do you think she avoids talking about the piece in formal art terms (elements and principles of design)?

Share your process in creating an abstract piece and whether or not yours has any similarities to hers.


11 responses »

  1. i think her creative process is guided by the way the lines fall on the canvas. it’s kinda random at first, and then when she begins to add shapes, the lines develop meaning and the piece develops a purpose. she avoids talking about her work in art terms because she does not want to classify or label herself and it wouldn’t really do her work justice to put it into a category. it’s its own thing, labeling it would only detract from the meaning of the artwork. seeing as i have not started my piece i cannot comment on my process.

  2. What do you think guides her in her creative process?:
    From her interview, it looks like she’s inspired by photographs and other form of art and then just goes from there. I don’t really know what guides her other than just wanting to create art. She looks to be very inspired but I don’t think it’s just one or two particular things that guide her creative process.

    Why is that little yellow square so important in its placement?
    It might balance some other shape out or it might clash with other shapes or lines that throw the entire piece off.

    How does she decide what to add, take out, or leave in the piece?
    Just by looking and seeing what appears ‘right’ in her mind. It’s like what any artist does, they look at it and adjust until they feel it looks good or right.

    Why do you think she avoids talking about the piece in formal art terms (elements and principles of design)?
    I don’t think she avoids talking in ‘formal art terms,’ I think she just doesn’t feel like she needs to.

  3. It seems like she plans out her artwork on her computer first. then she starts it. it seems as if she wants everything to be perfectly balanced. i dont really know what guides her to make such huge murals. i dont really know exactly what she is inspired by.
    i think the yellow square is important to her because she wants it to stay proportional and stay balanced.
    i guess she just looks at it a lot until she makes up her mind what to put in and what to take out.

  4. Julie Mehretu’s creative process seems to be guided by her own aesthetic and preferences in terms of balance and color. What I really like about her trying to explain her work is that she can’t. Her inspiration does seem to come from urban life and landscapes, but her choices seem purely gut choices that are difficult to define. If something doesn’t feel right or fit her ideas for the painting, she changes it until it’s perfect.
    Whenever I do an abstraction that doesn’t really have a prompt, I tend to pick the colors I want and then just try and work from there.

  5. For Scully, abstraction allows him to express everything all at once. He describes abstraction as something that is simultaneously everything and nothing; he calls it a “revelation.” Julie Mehretu’s creative process is guided by the original line drawing on the page. She follows the lines and lets the image speak to her, remaining aware of both time and space. Later (sometimes after months and sometimes after years), she begins to see an overarching theme and goal of the art piece and eventually she feels she has achieved completion. The placement of the yellow square as well as her decision of what to keep and what to take out is guided by the relation between how the image looks close up and how it looks from far away. She wants both effects to be meaningful but not to compete with one another. She strives to achieve a very specific balance. She avoids talking about the piece in formal terms because, although she feels it possesses a deep meaning, she does not feel like she can/wants to express what that meaning is in explicit terms. Perhaps there are no words to correctly address the meaning. Every shape possesses significance and it can mean different things to different people based on who they are and what they have experienced.

  6. 1) Scully likes how in abstraction, everything can happen at once.
    2) Mehretu’s process is guided by a feeling of completion. She seems to know when it is done.
    The little yellow square shows up a lot, so it has to be in the right place.
    She just tries different combos of stuff until it looks right.
    She doesn’t talk in ‘formal art terms,’ because she is looking more for the overall look than little details.

  7. Scully describes abstraction as trying portray everything happening at once. He also talked about how someone said that when you walk into a room, you see everything, and nothing. This actually really made sense to me, because you see everything in the room, but you don’t necessarily focus on and register what everything is. Mehretu decides where to place things so that “they don’t battle with each other.” She likes to work with abstraction because you cannot pinpoint a specific narrative. The placement of each yellow square is important because if it gets put in the wrong place, then it can cause you to focus too much attention on it, or too much on something else. What is important is to make the piece feel balanced with where your eyes look. Mehretu says that she spends a lot of time with the piece of art she is working on, just trying to feel what needs to happen next. I think she tries to avoid talking about the principles of design in her work so that you can just experience the piece for what it is, without any ideas of what you are supposed to see or feel from it.

  8. Sean Scully believes that abstract art should convey “everything at once,” and should be a revelation.
    Julie Mehretu’s process is heavily based on her own intuition, but she usually starts with drawing lines and geometric shapes and seeing how the idea develops. She doesn’t really plan out how a painting will take shape; as the sketches develop, she makes new insights and changes to her work. I think the yellow square gives her some sort of perspective or way to compare parts of her work to. I think that she doesn’t talk in formal art terms because it’s not something she thinks is very important for people to know about her, and doesn’t want to spend a lot of time going over specifics. Also, she knows that the paintings hold a lot of meaning, and that meaning is different to everyone.
    I haven’t started creating an abstract piece yet, but I guess maybe I’ll do that part of the blog after we’ve started our new project sometime.

  9. Scully likes to make the abstract art which everything can happen at once.
    Julie Mehretu’s process is guided by a feeling of completion. She beginning with to draw the line first. and she did not plan any painting on the art pieces. She continue her art pieces with her idea at that time.She doesn’t talk in formal art terms, because she is looking more the whole pieces than a tiny detail. And i do agree with Lilly903, she said “she knows that the paintings hold a lot of meaning, and that meaning is different to everyone.” that’s true people have different imagination and they have the difference feeling.

  10. Scully talks about abstractions capturing “everything at once”
    Julie’s creative process is guided by the influence of photography and other interpretations of objects or images. The little yellow square balances the contrast in color and space, breaking it up a little, and gives the geometric sense of perspective. She makes her pieces by looking at the contrasts of space and color and deciding what looks more visually pleasing. Abstract art reflects on the viewers mind and how they interpret the image through their own imagination.
    In my piece, I want to find a really good balance between color, space, and visual appeal.

  11. Her creative process was guided by the imagination from the complicated random lines. It is always hard to create creative things from nothing, but it is much easier to find creative things from a complexity. The yellow square is like a soul in her painting, it builds up the central meaning of her painting. She decides how to add, take out or leave in the piece by brainstorming. Artists’ inspiration always came in a sudden, and they can catch it well enough to modify their work. She refused to talk about the piece in formal art terms for the reason that she thinks art is a thing that for people to enjoy. If she talks about her work in art term, it will create a distance from her to normal people.
    In my work, I am trying to find stuff from the complex lines. I intend to find some good shapes to copy it around the paper.

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