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Creation of Painting: Reconsidering Barnett Newman’s Horizontal Zip Paintings in 1949

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1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper analyzes Barnett Newman’s works of art with horizontal zips, <Untitled 2,1949> <Dionysius> <Argos> <Horizon Light> which have deviated from dominant discourse on his artworks, and intends to deploy them in the center of his oeuvre. Newman’s primary artistic purpose was to make “creative painting”. This conceptually synthesizes his artistic practice and subject-matter. In the next year after finishing <Onement 1> in 1948, an inaugural work of his mature style, Newman was possessed of a derivative condition, “verticality”. With regard to maintain his artistic creativity, the subject-matter of “Creation” of God played an important role. Newman applied geometrical elements, which had been denounced through his whole artistic life due to the relation to Mondrian, in his artwork with the experiment of horizontal zip paintings. Specifically Newman’s use of “dynamic symmetry” on void canvas parallels the given order in the beginning of the world by God. Furthermore, his use of horizontal works against the fossilized label of “verticalline-painter” demonstrates how he located himself on the state of artist as a creator. In addition, despite the laudatory criticism from 1940s on Newman, their modernist explanation referring to his pictorial space was merely another condition to be got over. It led him to pursue a “sensation of time” extended from “temporality” firstly implied in his horizontal works . Newman’s four horizontal artworks were a necessary stage in pursuit of being an artist as a creator in 1949. They granted Newman a significant possibility to secure creativity on his later artistic life.

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