The third volume of a three-part monograph, Corner of the Room features a series of conversations between the author and the artist, primarily analyzing the work of the 1970s, but also covering the recent works since 2011, including those being shown in the exhibition, "Ross Bleckner: New Paintings," namely the White Paintings and the Blue Monet Paintings. Approaching the work through this more personal approach not only opened “the door to last year,” but also to many years past and to the present. The subjects discussed and the experiences revealed include the relentless desire and futile attempt to achieve the ‘perfect’ surface in abstract painting but being faced with the ultimate asymptotic reality of innumerable thresholds and the contradiction of wanting this same painting to reach beyond itself to the social issues of the larger world. We see the artist trying to come to terms with the “hard nut of who we are,” refusing to deny this reality but also knowing that much of what we accept about any given reality is constructed and therefore possibly subject to transformation. We observe Bleckner develop from the small formal and existential corners of his life and painting in the 1970s, moving away from the prescriptive parameters of Minimalism and Conceptualism toward a post-Constructivist aesthetic and ethos during this period, attempting to generate “structures of emotion” that made him feel and the work seem less “cornered,” leading him ultimately to create his Grid and infamous Op or Stripe paintings of the early 1980s, and still later, his Memorial or AIDS Paintings. It is this disciplined but libidinal trajectory that finally results in the multi-faceted Flower Paintings addressing the more generic human predicament of mortality. Along the way, Bleckner dialogues formally with such artists as Piero della Francesca, Tintoretto, Goya, Manet, Monet, Malevich, Picabia, Nolde, de Kooning, Newman, Cy Twombly, Guston, and Smithson – but sufficiently transmuting these influences, even where he may even be quoting a bouquet of flowers handed to him by Manet on his deathbed or a single waterlily by Monet.
Published by Galleria Mazzoli Editore, Italy, 2018.
Hardcover, 15.5 x 13.5 in., 480 pages, with Italian translation.