Top 5 most controversial black paintings
Undoubtedly, art is primarily what an artist feels and tries to show us on canvas or in another depictive form. Nevertheless, not everyone agrees that a monochrome image can be called a work of art, especially, if it is totally black, though black is a colour, and who knows, perhaps the larger part of the universe is dominated by black – the dark matter – which is thought to make up nearly 85% of the universe matter. Who knows, maybe this is a cause of such an irresistible love for black in the creativity of some artists.
Ad Reinhardt “Abstract Painting No. 5”
A famous American contemporary artist Ad Reinhardt explains his appetence for the ultimate black colour in the following way: “There is something wrong, mindless and irresponsible about colour; something impossible to control. Control and rationality are part of my morality”. The 1960s were the time of changes in people’s minds and rebellion against moral, ethical and esthetical foundations adopted in the society. Reinhardt died in 1967 and he spent the last 10 years of his life, being totally obsessed with black, which was the only colour in all his paintings created at that time.
Kazimir Malevich “Black Square”
Any review on black paintings can do without mentioning the most renowned and discussed artwork ever – “Black Square” by the Ukrainian artist Kazimir Malevich. Black Square appeared in 1913 and is now kept in Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. This abstract art was not meant to exist and be shown separately, being created for the Cubo-Futurist opera “Victory over the Sun” as part of the stage curtain design. However, with the time, Black Square became frequently referred to by art critics, historians, and artists as the "zero point of painting". It seems to symbolise the point of singularity which gave birth to the whole universe.
No one knows for sure whether Ad Reinhardt was inspired by this famous black abstract painting or whether he came to this way of self-expression by himself, but this artwork is incredibly appealing to lots of talents worldwide, and TrendGallery artists fell for it, as well.
Under the influence of the work by Malevich, the leading artist in TrendGallery, Zorsah, painted his TOTAL BLACK, and Sergio found the inspiration to produce DARK DEPTH. These are the mysteries of the universe and human mind singularity that were incentives to create something entirely black and at the same time realistic since being part of our world.
TOTAL BLACK by Zorsah
DARK DEPTH by Sergio
Frank Stella “Die Fahne Hoch!”
Frank Philip Stella is another artist who paid much attention to the black colour in his works. His preferable field was minimalism and post-painterly abstract art with the main images being geometric patterns and shapes. Frank Stella is considered to be an influential figure in the world of art because he was among those who, in the 1950s and 60s, built a bridge from Abstract Expressionism to Minimalism. He himself saw his new type of art not as a stylistic innovation but as an embodiment of the continuum on canvas.
In fact, his prominent black paintings are not totally black but present black and white striped artworks with thin straight lines of unpainted canvas in different directions. Stella’s purpose was to eliminate any subjectivity of art perception, and he even summed it up in his statement: “You see what you see”.
The provoking name Die Fahne Hoch! (Raise the Flag!) was given to this painting deliberately to draw attention of the audience: in the 1950s, the world remembered the World War II and its atrocities very clearly and the effect was predictable.
One more distinctive feature of Stella’s works, which helps modeling the interior design, is that Stella added deep stretcher bars that made his black paintings stand out from the wall and, together with the straight stripes, create a three dimensional effect of the painting. It looked as if it were a big physical object protruding into the space of the room.
This very feature urged TrendGallery artist Solo L to experiment with black lines, too. She tried to create the illusion of a 3-D image and succeeding in this: her works seem to extend from the wall into the room space. Not matter framed or not they look really impressive in the interior.
GEOMETRIC DARKNESS by Solo L
LINES OF FATE by Solo L
Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled [glossy black four-panel painting]
Robert Rauschenberg is fairly seen as one of the weirdest and most inscrutable artists of the 20th century even among abstract art creators. At the beginning of the 50s, he started producing unusually looking black paintings with a unique structure and gave no title to them. In this review, we present the painting which was initially a 5-part artwork, then he threw one part away, and as a result, we see what is now known as Untitled [glossy black four-panel painting].
To make these black paintings, Rauschenberg used panels of different sizes and added newspaper onto the canvases. Due to the incorporation of the newspapers, the painting obtained that inimitable texture of a miserable, worn, weather-beaten and charred surface. This peculiar appearance was called by a number of art critics an embodiment of pain, suffering and death, or nihilistic attitude to life, according to some other opinions. Rauschenberg himself explained the use of newspapers in his artwork by his wish to strengthen the colour effect, because the rough surface made the black colour seem gray, silver, brown, etc, depending on the lighting.
Solo L and Vitaliy Ladovskiy did not come to a decision to experiment with the canvas structure but added the colours to their paintings, which were seen in Rauschenberg’s works due to his innovative method of changing the canvas surface.
DARK ROOM by Solo L
ETERNAL BATTLE by Vitaliy Ladovskiy
5. Untitled (Black on Gray) by Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko is known for strikingly contrasting colours in his paintings. They are mostly bright and may seem incongruous at first, but the general image never fails to impress with its one and only idea of pure art.
The dark painting Untitled (Black on Gray) significantly differs from other works of his. Rothko began his series of black paintings the year before committing a suicide, they being a sign of the forthcoming tragic end. His last paintings lack bright colours, they are dark images with a thin light horizon line symbolizing a transition to another world, and each person concludes for themselves what to expect after that line is crossed.
When looking at Untitled (Black on Gray) one remembers the words said by Kharon, the ferryman of Hades who carried souls of the deceased across the river Styx to the kingdom of the dead - “Abandon hope, all you who enter here”. This is the impression shared by Zorsah. At the same time, he emphasized that knowing the background of the artwork creation encouraged him to change the dismal sensation it evokes and create a black painting would just show that the horizon just hides something unknown and that is why frightening, but once the line is crossed, a new world invites to its alluring broad limitless lands.
DARK ART by Zorsah