Archive for March, 2006

SEXY REDHEAD SIZES UP HER MAN KNOX MARTIN (Evaluating a masterpiece by Knox Martin through comparisions)

Friday, March 31st, 2006

In today’s session, I intend to destroy the myth that proclaims: “One cannot really compare two works of art under any circumstances!” It is a myth spread by those who essentially have no understanding in Art, but managed to set up stores in an elite class in the society, complete with postgraduate degrees and award medals that are as worthless as trampled pennies.
I intend to return the simple pleasure of comparison between two paintings, even two forms of Art to the public so we can boldly embrace that which Beauty and Poetry has promised to all humanity. Henceforth we may freely exercise our intuitive judgments instead of getting bullied by self-proclaimed gurus whose sole aim is to make Art an elitist commodity despite their own ineptitude and blindness.

1976-77 witnessed the creation of Redhead– and Knox Martin is at the height of his power! This analysis will suffice, in my opinion, to assign to Knox Martin to the proper status he rightfully deserves.

Redhead has established the status of Knox Martin as one of the greatest masters of all times since Ancient Egyptians.
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Figure 1: Redhead by Knox Martin ,Oil on canvas, 9X9.5 ft. 1976-77

For those who are not familiar with Master Knox Martin’s use of metaphors regarding the nude, here are some basics:

1. Try to locate the eyes, the nose/and nostril, the mouth (to the immediate left of the nostrils).

2. Find the tubular breasts, then the hands (the more prominent one is located to the left of the mouth, occupying a good portion of the upper area in the composition).

3. Locate the extremely elegant looking buttock, the legs, the foot with high-heel and the sexual organ complete with overflowing pubic hair.

4. Finally find the turf of red hair for which this painting is named after.

Two things, when put next to each other under comparable scrutiny, cannot be dissimilar by nature. That is the first law of comparison! For example,one cannot compare a hen with a duck or an apple with an orange because there is no common  ground between the two entities. So let us first compare the painting, Redhead, with  Woman with Robe, created by the same artist before we reach out for further comparisons.

Since hens and ducks are in the same category of birds, there then exists a commonality on which comparison can be made. By the same token, one may compare a masterful calligraphy with a masterful painting since we can identify the commonality between them on which comparison can be made.This commonality has come to be known as Supreme Mathematical Relationship, a term invented by me to describe the phenomenon of artistic greatness. To be more precise, we can now reach out beyond the boundaries of different disciplines to compare a masterful painting with a masterful calligraphy. It is possible since because both disciplines have been geared towards the attainment of Supreme Mathematical Relationships, or SMR in their compositions.

Woman With Robe by Knox Martin is, without a doubt, a fantastic masterpiece in her own right! It shows a half-naked nymph with perfectly manicured hands and fingers, her ivory white fragrance flesh seductively wrapped up in an extraordinary robe of fine silk with fantastic patterns that appropriately reminds one of exotic bombshells or hand grenades–her left hand holding her chin, probably waiting for her lover to come and claim her silken lady-hood… . Let us now look at this rare beauty with all her merits and charm and let the process begin.

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Figure 2: Woman with Robe, by Knox Martin Oil on canvas

9X10 ft. 1970-71

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A.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> B.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> C.>>>>>>>>>>>

The Alpha Seer’s comment: A is far less fragmented than B. All other things being equal, A would then appear to be the composition less fragmented, and therefore give a more compact look. Compactness leads to a crystalline, gem-like state in the presentation of a beautiful woman’s metaphor. For that reason, it would be given more  weight by comparison.
Now, let us ask the following questions:

1. Why have I placed a masterful calligraphy next to those two works?

A. For easier visual reading______. B. For setting up the ultimate common goal of Painting, Calligraphy, Poetry, Music and Sculpture________.

2. What is the ultimate common goal of Painting, Poetry, Music, Calligraphy and Sculpture?

A. Mathematics______. B. Beauty________.

3. Which of the above paintings, A or B, has come closer to the achievement of such an ultimate common goal as revealed in C?

A. Painting A_____. B. Painting B._______.

4. Which painting strikes you as the more powerful work in terms of its composition and forms?

A. Painting A______. B. Painting B._______.

5. Which composition points to a more elaborate geometric ground plan?

A. Painting A_____.

B. Painting B______.

6. Which one has the more unique quality in the metaphors that have thoroughly evolved so that the metaphor itself is the composition ?

7. Which composition is more fragmented–with the understanding that fragmentation may cause the dissolution in the compactness of forms.

8. Which one relies more on narratives? Narratives/meanings are peripheral in character and irrelevant to SMR, the main goal of timeless beauty.

Let us ask similar kind of questions as we move out towards other great work of art by Alpha Seers such as Picasso, Matisse, Frans Hals and Van Eyck.

The next step is to pick your favorite masterpiece to be placed next to the painting Redhead. That particular work is presumably the best work one can find by another master that we decide to place next to Redhead for comparison.
Finally, let us eyeball both paintings, forgetting about the color–just focusing on the painting’s “black and white” in the composition. Simultaneously let us also pretend that each line or form within the composition has become the brush strokes in a single Chinese calligraphic word. That is called the “control” in any experiment, scientific or otherwise. The control is set up to provide a common ground for our comparison. At the same time we shall eyeball the Chinese calligraphy to regularly remind ourselves that we are seeking the ultimate common goal of SMR in all three work of art.
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A.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> B1.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> C.>>>>>>>>>>>

The Alpha Seer’s comment: Picasso’s work is marvelous but its composition is chiefly fostered by the entanglement of the major black and white forms, spread out like the Chinese Yin and Yang symbol. It is prominently centered in the composition. It is figuro-centric* ( * My invented term to mean a figure being centered in a composition.) Knox Martin’s composition, on the other hand, has far greater dynamic and is not centered on a localized zone. Its wild, frantic interwoven playfulness of black and white permeates and embraces, negotiates and seduces. A small part of Picasso’s painterly energy, by contrast, has been expended on the rendition of details with a predilection for narratives, while Knox Martin directly takes his painterly theme back to the very root of art, and nonchalantly takes a short cut to the ultimate goal of mathematical beauty, which eventually becomes poetry! “No baloney!” said Master Knox to Pablo.

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A.>>> B2.>>> D.>>>>>

The Alpha Seer’s comment: Matisse’s main black form is the S shape compounded by a wonderful parallelogram in the central portion. By comparison, Matisse is very much behind versus Redhead’s dynamism. Knox Martin’s playfulness of interwoven forms loudly proclaims themselves making the Matisse composition appear shy and passive, if not outright boring.

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A.>>>> B3.>>>> C.>>>>

The Alpha Seer’s comment: The relatively subdued Van Eyck composition, when compared with the active, lively, all-encompassing and powerful Redhead, appears less of a visual magic, and more of an exercise in drudgery! The wild and frantic outcry of Knox Martin’s metaphors, the strangely seductive forms of Redhead have set the Inventor of European Painting aside almost as being irrelevant to the revelry that is going on in Painting of our time! A look at the dynamism in the upper left corner of Redhead would convince you that I am right about that assessment. What is going on there –WOW!!!– one simply cannot find anything quite up to it in the Wizard’s composition!

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A.>>> B4.>>> E.>>>

The Alpha Seer’s comment: Much of the color in B4 was probably oxidized and turned dark in the ravage of time. Notwithstanding, it is till a superb composition by Frans Hals–one of my favorite paintings. Compared with Redhead, however, the Frans Hals composition appears as too fragmented and gloomy.

Conclusion: Knox Martin’s composition, Redhead, clearly stands out in all of the above comparisions.
Comparisons aside, let us not forget that Master Knox Martin is the proud inventor of a new paradigm in the painting of the female nude! He has reinvented the nude in ways so significant that a breakthrough in European art is at hand!

The revolution is here! Alpha Seer is here!

Knox Martin , like all Alpha Seers, is a law unto himself. New laws have been set up and the old are broken. Through his invention, it is possible for future painters to reveal microscopic beauty in one breath with the structuring of the bigger poetic form, allowing the big picture to be enjoyed simultaneously with the microscopic brush strokes, thereby promising enormous space for future expressive and inventive freedom. The way of painting is never the same again with Master Knox Martin’s  innovation!
What Knox Martin did went beyond the breaking of new grounds–what he did was a total revolution! He has just moved painting from its narrow European scheme to the world at large and has given 21st Century painting a name and an address! He had created a new universe in Painting, not just move European art to a new horizon,–making painting a whole new ball game–like they say.

However, it is not due to the newness per se that we should find cause for celebration. Here is the greatest master of our times and we are part and parcel of this episode in history–if you put things in its proper perspective… The celebration is with regard to a brave new frontier that Knox Martin has opened up whereby female nude painting can be attempted with the wildest seduction possible–no longer a subdued, timid erotic art form! And we, instead of going about in the apathetic mode, should congratulate each other for this privilege granted to us by a native son in our midst.Our son in the perpetual bid for greatness–a supreme race with great ancient civilizations. Knox Martin has offered the best assurance and promise.
But how has our time treated “our best hope to glory”?

My latest report had it that Master Knox Martin is living a pauper’s life in Spanish Harlem, trying daily to make ends meet. Fancy that: a most insignificant gladiator (e.g. a football player in our time) can get paid several hundred thousand times more than the best poet at the time of the Roman Empire!

But that is the accursed time we are living in,–a time of shabbiness… .How would History register it in her log book?

I have recently attempted just such an entry. but I certainly hope that it will never be!
Here is how it runs:

There once existed in America an existential civilization, the inhabitants there were a barbaric, war-mongering race who could best be described as little more than knaves of the spirit because no evidence of their greatness from excavation or elsewhere was ever known to exist… .

But I certainly hope that it will never be!

Ben Taishing Lau

Answers: 1B/ 2B/ 3A/ 4A/ 5A or 5B/ 6A or 6B/ 7B/ 8B/