Ellsworth Kelly


  • Spilling Over

    Ellsworth Kelly, Blue Green Red, 1964

    Ellsworth Kelly, Blue Green Red, 1964


    Narrator: In this painting, Ellsworth Kelly made an abstract painting out of the three hues mixed to produce color television—a recent invention at the time he completed this work. 

    Darby English: Kelly is looking at the basics of painting making: color relationships, composition, non-composition, and he’s trying to present the basics as the basics that they are—without losing the soul.

    Narrator: Art historian Darby English. 

    Darby English: Imagine being an artist or being someone trying to be an artist and going to a handbook with the basic information about shapes and colors and composition laid out before you, you see a lot of charts, you see a lot of things presented in sequence and in hierarchies, you see a lot of things set into very legible diagrammatic relationships so that, quote, unquote, anyone who comes along and picks it up can learn the principles.

    Kelly’s question seems to be, how can I present the basic information in a way that lacks the coldness and the abstractness of a diagram? It’s in a way like teaching without didacticism, if that makes any sense. 

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