Friday, September 12, 2008


As I move forward in my search for the Ideal, the Absolute, I often seek inspiration from the work and writings of Donald Judd. Although he was primarily a sculptor, his reverence for space and light are what draw me to his work and his philosophy. When I am stuck in a painting, feeling defeated, confused, unable to see my own vision of what I long to express, I turn to the clean, open, pure vision of Judd. I regain some of my clarity and purpose as I study his work. I own a wonderful catalogue of Judd's work that I often pore over to restore and sustain my vision.

In his catalogue essay, Rudi Fuchs observes that Judd's work, and Mondrian's too, were "moments of realised conviction, arrived at by quiet, patient, emotional reasoning and probing.... Judd argued that once an artist had come to a pragmatic conclusion, based on honest practice, to give a piece a definite shape and color, that definition was not a whim of style. It was a fact that, by its very existence, became as objective as any piece of knowledge that is added to all we know in the world." This is dedication to the process of defining what it is that you feel compelled to produce, to maintain that vision without distraction, to search out with integrity and honesty your ideals of what a work of art should be. Abstraction is a serious business, requiring conviction of purpose and careful consideration, as well as solitude and privacy in order to filter out all extraneous and unnecessary impulses. This is why Judd moved from New York City to the deserted fields of Marfa, Texas. The move was to "protect his independence and to give him the space to work carefully and unhurried at his own pace." Judd knew that the competitive edge of living and creating in New York would inevitably lead to compromise. His devotion to space, light, and the integrity of the placement of each piece is what makes Judd's work so powerful and unshakable.

Chinati Foundation. Permanent installation of concrete works by Donald Judd.

(The above quotes are taken from Donald Judd, edited by Nicholas Serota, pages 17-18.)

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