Street Art: Color fields in the alley

Lord knows how many times I've walked past this garage (attached to a semi-dilapidated abandoned house near the Westword office) and not given it a second glance, but for whatever reason, it happened to catch my eye the other day -- probably because I happened to be carrying a camera; it's funny how that makes you look a little bit differently at things. At any rate, on this particular day, I was walking by, and it occurred to me: huh. That kind of looks a little like a Clyfford Still. Yeah, I know, it's just some graffiti on an abandoned garage, and that in itself is unremarkable. But look a little closer: In fact, whether because of wear and tear or weather or because somebody tried to scrape it off, it's actually negative graffiti; like the reverse of a wood block or something -- the lines cast in relief on the white paint. And what's going on with that black square in the upper middle, there? It kind of changes the composition of it, doesn't it? Look closer still, and notice how the wood grain making its way through the white paint (at left) adds an almost water-like element to it, giving a turn-of-the-century impressionist feel, where lines and shapes seen from afar are reduced to ethereal colorscapes viewed up close, an idea the abstract impressionists would later explore -- abstract impressionists like, oh, say, Clyfford Still.

It might not have been planned that way, but if the Dadaists taught us anything, it's that art can be accidental.

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