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Press Releases - Visions Art"My art is my means of identifying with the universe. Therefore, I use symbols, forms, and spatial concern as a means to express my need for universality. My inspiration comes from the unity between the microscopic and the macrocosmic. My painting process is also designed to bridge the gap between the known and the unknown.By using materials that resist one another, I am able to reveal several layers of paints, which would ordinarily get covered up. Introducing a hybrid of techniques, symbols and various mediums, I am hoping to create oneness."
Antonio Puri┬╣s Abstract Paintings by Donald Kuspit
Is there still life in abstract painting, and if so what kind and quality of life? These are the questions that are raised by Antonio Puri┬╣s abstract paintings. They┬╣re inevitable after a century of abstraction--a century since Kandinsky┬╣s gestural abstraction and Malevich┬╣s geometrical abstraction emerged. In 1935 Alfred Barr declared them the be-all and end-all of avant-garde creativity. But a lot has happened since then, especially the academicization and conventionalization of avant-garde art, and with that of high abstraction, whatever its expressive form.
So the question is to what use Puri puts gestural abstraction. Does he breathe fresh life into it--fresh spiritual life, to recall Kandinsky┬╣s view, stated in 1912, that abstract art alone keeps spiritual consciousness alive in materialistic modern times, and Motherwell┬╣s assertion, in 1951, that ┬│abstract art is a form of mysticism?┬▓ Is this still the case at the end of the 20th century? Can gestural painting still have spiritual import? Puri┬╣s New Millennium paintings suggest that it can. But with an important difference: Puri┬╣s abstractions are rooted in Buddhist rather than
Christian spirituality, as Kandinsky┬╣s and Motherwell┬╣s were, however different their forms. Kandinsky is explicit about his Christian sources, Motherwell less so, although his Spanish Elegies have been understood to be crucifixions in all but name. Malevich┬╣s Suprematist paintings have been said to be Russian Orthodox icons in abstract disguise, or rather to have made their innate abstractness explicit.
In other words, Christianity no longer seems to be the spiritual point, at least for Western artists. No doubt this has something to do with the convergence of East and West through globalization, and with that the attempt to reconcile their spiritual differences. These are not merely exotic differences: spiritual otherness is an obstacle to practical harmony. But the decreasing importance of Christian spirituality to abstract artists also has to do with the fact that the Buddhist attitude of compassionate detachment seems a better way of surviving emotionally in the modern secular world than the Christian emphasis on salvation through suffering. Newman┬╣s Stations of the Cross are perhaps the climactic expression of Christian spirituality in abstract art, and with that the theory that suffering is the exclusive way to otherworldly transcendence.
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