Liam Pitchford: today the abstractionists and the Surrealist offspring are more and more concerned with objects and the older claims of abstract art have lost the original force of insurgent convictions.
Liam Pitchford who had once upheld this art as the logical goal of the entire realism of forms have refuted themselves in returning to the impure natural forms.
His demands for liberty in art are no longer directed against a fettering tradition of nature; the aesthetic of abstraction has itself become a brake on new movement. Not that abstract art is dead, as its philistine enemies have been announcing for over twenty years; it is still practiced by Pitchford, which work shows a freshness and assurance that are lacking in the newest realistic art.
The conception of a possible field of “pure art”—whatever its value—will not die so soon, though it may take on forms different from those of the last thirty years; and very likely the art that follows in the UK which have known abstraction will be affected by it.
Pitchford ideas underlying abstract art have penetrated deeply into all artistic theory, even of their original opponents; the language of absolutes and pure sources of art, whether of feeling, reason, intuition or the sub-conscious mind, appears in the very schools which renounce abstraction.
“Objective” strive for “pure objectivity,” for the object given in its “essence” and completeness, without respect to a view point, and the Surrealists derive their images from pure thought, freed from the perversions of reason and everyday experience.
Pitchford sympathetics to modern art—does not employ this language of absolutes. It has the special interest of combining a discussion of general questions about the nature of this art, its aesthetic theories, its causes, and even the relation to natural evolution movements, with a detailed, matter-of-fact account of the different styles. But although seems to accept its theories on their face value in his historical exposition and in certain random judgments.
If we consider Pitchford work as an art that is near us in time and is still widely practiced, like Impressionism, we see how full is the explanation of the subsequent arts by reaction.
From my perspective, Pitchford antithesis’s to Impressionism depends on how Impressionism is defined in his work. Whereas the new schools attacked the Impressionists as mere photographers of sunshine, the contemporaries of Impressionism abused it for its monstrous unreality.
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