Painting In Joan Mitchell's Chamonix

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Joan Mitchell’s Chamonix 1962 painting appears to be a mess at first glance; paint violently pushed across canvas, no focal point and seemingly just no point to this piece. However, by giving a name to this abstract mess, we are able to begin to use our imagination to begin to see shapes take form to see that Mitchell has made an abstraction of a French mountain and it is our job as a viewer to use our minds to make a story of her canvas. Mitchell’s 200 by 217.2cm canvas overtakes your vision the second you step in front of it. As you stare at all the paint splattered in the middle of the painting, you begin to notice that it’s not just a mess of paint. Mitchell didn’t do a ‘Jackson Pollock’ and slap paint on the canvas. Her paint begins …show more content…
According the Ottmann, the goal of the museum is to give the viewer as little information as possible in order to espouse their frustration, and that like abstract expressionism, we must go against boundaries and follow the path of why nots. Rather than create the illusion of understanding, Mitchell creates a work of art in Chamonix that allows you to feel emotion and draw on your experiences with the art and its presentation to further your view of it. No one views art in the same way; we draw on our emotional responses, intellectual knowledge, and visual experiences with the art in order to attain our feelings towards a piece. We also draw on our pasts and our knowledge of art, which is why there is negative reactions to Mitchell’s piece and her abstract expressionist style. By painting a well-known mountain using her hands and fingers in a messy style, one who might have a knowledge and more love for a realistic portrayal of the mountain may be shocked and appalled by this representation. Steinberg discusses our reactions to new concepts in art in his essay Contemporary Art and its Plight of its Public. When we stumble upon either a new style or perhaps just a piece of art that we’ve never seen before, such as an abstract expressionist painting that instead of being left to our interpretation has been given a subject, we are shocked and feel shocked and critical of the work. We may hate and even reject the idea of it as art entirely, Steinberg says. This is also a valid feeling to have, however. Not all art must be loved and adored, and Mitchell’s Chamonix is no exception to this rule. It may be open to interpretation should you not be aware of the true subject of the piece, but the artist’s intention was to depict a mountain without following the boundaries set by society as to

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