Rumination Room

 A quote for the day ~ Abstract Artist, Hans Hofmann:

Hans Hofmann believed that abstract art was a way to get at the important reality. He famously stated that “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”

Bio on artist “Oskar Gross” mentor/teacher to Joan Beringer Pripps:
(RE: Joan Beringer Pripps, artist & as well aunt of Matthew Zedler, artist)

Oskar Gross

b. Vienna, Austria, 1871–d. Chicago, 1983

Oskar Gross /

Oskar Gross was born in Vienna, Austria. His father, Rudolph Gross, was a prominent architect and engineer who wanted his son also to be an architect. Gross showed early talent in art rather than architecture, however, and enrolled in the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He was successful at school and began a lucrative career as a portraitist, opening an expensive studio space in Vienna, though he was not able to maintain it. He was elected a full member of the Association of Viennese Painters and Sculptors, and worked as a cartoonist for a comic paper in Munich. In 1898, he won a mural competition for the Hungarian State Pavilion, which was being designed for the Paris Exposition of 1900. Using violet ink, he designed a motif of Hungarian peasants with horses, and the overseers liked it so much they redesigned other parts of their Pavilion to conform to his mural.

Impressed by this design, Chicago architect Daniel Burnham invited Gross to come to Chicago to decorate some of Burnham’s buildings. Although reluctant to leave Vienna, Gross made the trip to Chicago in 1903 at age 32 and decided to settle there. He was able to function better than most foreign visitors because his mother, who had lived in New York City for five years as a child, had taught him English. He was financially successful soon after his arrival, but Burnham—who had found him many commissions—died in 1911. And when department stores entered the building decoration trade, Gross was out of work.

Gross first exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1911 and began to associate more with painters rather than architects, developing a camaraderie and lifestyle similar to the one he had led in Vienna, where he had been associated with the Vienna Secession. He set up a studio in Chicago and devoted himself to figure and genre painting. During his time in Chicago, he belonged to the Arts Club, Cliff Dwellers, Chicago Painters and Sculptors, and the Palette and Chisel Club. He died there in 1983.

Although most of his portrait commissions were from members of the upper class, Gross was much more interested in working class subjects. For example, his small oil on board, Maxwell Street Market, painted in the 1920s, shows an old man arranging his wares amidst the busy street market glimpsed over his shoulder. Gross applied the oil paint with thick impasto to render the dark and heavy form of the vendor, who leans toward his female customer. She wears a head scarf but otherwise bears few distinguishing facial features. Gross’s interest in depicting the urban poor became especially relevant after the 1929 stock market crash.

Lisa Meyerowitz


Bulliet, C. J. “Artists of Chicago Past and Present: No. 59: Oskar Gross” Chicago Daily News, April 4, 1936.

Gross, Oskar. Pamphlet file P02283. Ryerson Library. Art Institute of Chicago.

Artist Image: Oskar Gross / believed to be a self-portrait. Prairie Styles.

Matt Zedler ruminates with thoughts taken from “Point and Line to Plane” (Wassily Kandinsky) on “Getting Real Value when Viewing Art”

( Wassily Kandinsky & Matt Zedler)

When viewing a painting, lets try not to look at the how ~ but moreover the “what” and the “why.” It’s not the endless dissection of a process in a works creation that will help give the viewer more value in viewing it ~ but moreover the genuine desire and real attempt to fully understand the works message. If you want to try and comprehend the message behind the work you need to try and look within the work (the what). As well, you will need to try to understand the driving passion of the creator (the artist) when making the piece (thus, the why).  Combined, these new vantage points will help give you the viewer more real meaning and value. Many of us still get too hung up in valuating work based on “the process.” This is even a genuine fault of artists when viewing the work of other artists. Let’s all go beyond this…and look for the “why” and the “what” next time, and get past the “how.” You will find yourself truly mesmerized by that very same gallery piece you quickly viewed and dismissed earlier.

Another fine quote from Wassily Kandinsky….

“I refer to Abstract as the content that painting must express, that’s to say this invisible life that we are. In such a way that the Kandinskian equation, to which I have alluded to, can be written as follows : Interior = interiority = invisible = life = pathos = abstract

May 1st, 2013:

Recently, two students from the Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario, comprised a comparison project and then presentation on a particular modern art painting methodology.  This painting style or methodology, has been (and still is-) in use today in a variety of modern abstractions. This process was used by acclaimed artist Mr. Gerhard Richter,  and as well respected 2100 century modern artist Mr. Matthew Zedler. Recently, a Georgian College graduate art school student, by the name of Mr. Dillion Edge, has embarked on employing a similar process to some of his new works.

The following is a summary of that project and presentation (copy by Dillion Edge):

“Gerhard Richter to Matt Zedler to Dillon Edge

I Sought out Matt after being assigned a presentation in a Modern Art history course at Georgian College, Barrie, Ontario. I chose to contact him and after a speedy response, I was able to prepare a presentation with a classmate (Samantha Daigle). The project received a 90% grade, where we compared Gerhard Richter with Matt Zedler, and Matt Zedler to Myself (Dillon Edge).

“I pursue no objectives, no systems, no tendency; I have no program, no style, no direction. I have no time for specialized concerns, working themes, or variations that lead to mastery. I steer clear of definitions. I don’t know what I want. I am inconsistent, non-committal, passive; I like the indefinite, the boundless; I like continual uncertainty.” (Gerhard Richter)

Gerhard Richter is a diverse artist, working with multiple disciplines, such as; editions , abstraction, photo Realism, drawings and water colour. On the whole Gerhard is undefinable by art movement. Both by his own accounts and in writings and interviews but also by viewing his body of work over time.

However in his later career he is considered to be a part of the New European Painting Movement, which is classified as painting with post traumatic traces of war and with the use of newer technologies like Xerox and other digital media.

Matt Zedler follows in the footsteps of Abstract Expressionism but bursts out in his own stylized post painterly abstraction.  Matt takes many of the newer methods of painting like scraping, pulling paint, and building texture with paint to the the next level ~ while  applying these principals into his work.  At a view you can break Matt’s work into two basic categories; Geometric Abstraction and Line Work, and Patterned Impressionism.

Dillon Edge though still a student at Georgian college works with Geometric Abstraction and Tactile Abstraction working with patterns and hard edge painting styles in order to demonstrate.

Structure and reoccurring patterns of worldly objects. He uses any tool to apply paint including, cloths,  pallet knives, brushes, cardboard, assorted objects and tape to create new and exciting ways of painting, found objects are often used with or on his larger and mixed media piece.

Gerhard and Matt share some similarities in their painting styles. Matt had mentioned to me, “I understand the comparison (Richter vs Myself). One fantastic revolution/evolution in modern painting was/is the pulling, dragging, of paint(s) across a canvas or medium, while it is still in various stages of the drying process.” Different stage (i.e. drying), different result. Righter tested this concept and uses this process in much of his work, as I do to large part as well.” Which of course is only a narrow focus on the large scale of art. In the presentation I did with a fellow class mate and artist, Sam Daigle we compared Gerhard Richter to Matt Zedler and then Matt Zedler to my work. (Dillon Edge) we used the piece “Cool Wave”  by Mr. Zedler and related them to “Avsraket Bild” (Abstract painting 1995). These two paintings are similar in the method if paint application and color pallet. Both are dynamic and show a variety of tones and magnificent texture of the dragging bar/brush and the showing of layered colors. And as they both create dynamic works, where painterly application is key and paint is for paints sake.

Matt and Dillon share similarities in paint application, the use of acrylics and textures to create new surfaces for paint. They share a similar color pallet for very different reasons, for Matt Blue is Surreal and for Dillon it is calming and quick. Matt uses materials to Create his concept, but Dillon uses the Materials to shape the surface before the concept is laid out completely. “ I feel that Matt and I use materials in a way that expresses the subject matter in depth, and through the exploration of the materials we find our final image.”(myself)

Gerhard Richter,  Avsraket Blid (1995)

Matt Zedler,   Cool Wave   (2011)


Dillon Edge,   Light & Speed

More Great (and sometimes humorous) Art Quotes:

“Great art picks up where nature ends.”

~ Marc Chagall

“Sex is like art. Most of it is pretty bad, and the good stuff is out of your price range.”

~ Scott Roeben

“Personality is everything in art and poetry.”

~ Goethe

“No artist is ahead of his time. He is his time, it’s just that others are behind the times.”

~ Martha Graham

“I will be an artist or nothing!”

~ Eugene O’Neill

“Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.”

~ G.K. Chesterton

“The greatest respect an artist can pay to music is to give it life.”

~ Pablo Casals

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”

~ Edgar Degas

“Any fool can paint a picture, but it takes a wise person to be able to sell it.”

~ Samuel Butler

“Art is literacy of the heart”

~ Elliot Eisner

Great Quotes on Modern & Abstract Art:

The true work of art is born from the ‘artist’: a mysterious, enigmatic, and mystical creation. It detaches itself from him, it acquires an autonomous life, becomes a personality, an independent subject, animated with a spiritual breath, the living subject of a real existence of being.

~ Wassily Kandinsky

Colour is the key. The eye is the hammer. The soul is the piano with its many chords. The artist is the hand that, by touching this or that key, sets the soul vibrating automatically.

~ Wassily Kandinsky

The artist must train not only his eye but also his soul.

~ Wassily Kandinsky

To define a thing is to substitute the definition for the thing itself.

~ Georges Braque

There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.

~ Georges Braque

It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.

~ Mark Rothko

Every good painter paints what he is.

~ Jackson Pollack

The painting is finished when the idea has disappeared.

~ Georges Braque

Most painting in the European tradition was painting the mask. Modern art rejected all that. Our subject matter was the person behind the mask.

~ Robert Motherwell

Art is not made for anybody and is, at the same time, for everybody.

~ Piet Mondrian

I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.

~ Joan Miro

Everything vanishes around me, and works are born as if out of the void. Ripe, graphic fruits fall off. My hand has become the obedient instrument of a remote will.

~ Paul Klee

An empty canvas is a living wonder.. far lovelier than certain pictures.

~ Wassily Kandinsky

In a successful painting everything is integral.. all the parts belong to the whole. If you remove an aspect or element you are removing its wholeness.

~ Richard Diebenkorn

Whatever an artist’s personal feelings are, as soon as an artist fills a certain area on the canvas or circumscribes it, he becomes historical. He acts from or upon other artists.

~ Willem de Knooning

I can’t always reach the image in my mind.. almost never, in fact.. so that the abstract image I create is not quite there, but it gets to the point where I can leave it.

~ Gerhard Richter

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

~ Pablo Picasso

Truth exists;  only lies are invented.

~ Georges Braque

Emotion should not be rendered by an excited trembling; it can neither be added on nor be imitated. It is the seed, the work is the flower.

~ Georges Braque

With age, art and life become one.

~ Georges Braque

Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colors, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential.

~ Wassily Kandinsky