WEEKLY

IN-BETWEEN ABSTRACTION AND FIGURATION
抽象與具象之間

感覺,是世界上最難揣摩又無法解釋的事情。以簡單的長方形為例,四方框只是它的表徵,而它實際上可以代表一張紙、一扇窗,甚或一片海,任憑觀者自行詮釋。英國藝術家William Scott則喜歡以廚房用具──尤其是煎鍋,作為畫中的主角,繼而引伸不同的內在意義。在數十年的繪畫生涯中,他用隨性的筆觸和用色,帶領人們深入抽象與具象之間的一場對話。

從平庸中捉捕美麗
William Scott於1913在蘇格蘭出生,及後搬到北愛爾蘭的恩尼斯基林,並開始上藝術課程。他身處的地方是一條漁村,環境悠然靜謐,沒有甚麼熱鬧繁華的街道。久而久之,這種簡樸的生活模式養成他敏銳的觸覺,他亦曾自言:「我能從平凡的東西裏發掘美麗之處。」1930年代,他開始學習繪畫,常以靜止的物體作為主題。他擅長用怪誕、抽象的表現手法呈現事物,廚房用具、水果、女性的身體,均是他畫中的常客。William Scott初期的作品比較立體,有清晰的光暗對比,大面積的藍色運用亦予人沉寂卻又煥然一新的感覺。

在動盪不安的二戰時期,許多藝術家都對前路茫然失措,不知如何推進藝術創作。然而,踏入五十年代,William Scott深受美國大膽的藝術風格啟發,令其畫作趨向完全抽象的風格。抽象表現主義在美國紐約首先冒起,它不以細緻的畫面為基礎,反而着重渲染作品的情緒,同時激發觀者的想像力。William Scott開創先河,將抽象派的概念從大西洋帶到對岸的歐洲,成為英國藝術史上舉足輕重的人物。

感受靜態的美學
如果你曾看過畢加索的作品,或許會發現他似乎對結他情有獨鍾。其實,畢加索透過描繪結他,抽象地刻畫了女性的身體。對William Scott來說,煎鍋就如畢加索的結他,除了是他的「嘜頭」之外,當中也有不同的隱喻。

William Scott經常為靜物髹上單一的顏色,如此直率的表達手法卻偏偏最引人入勝。他本人指出,煎鍋和陶瓷杯背後埋藏着另一幅圖畫,而那幅畫往往是要去感覺,絕非肉眼所能看見。他也會不時畫餐桌上的食物,如水果、魚、白飯等,縱使線條並不乾淨俐落,但富有質感的筆觸彷彿讓人感受到這些物件是確實存在的。另外,他所繪畫的女性裸體既平坦又窄小,實際上可看成是一片風景。他筆下的物件恍若披上迷濛的面紗,即使看不清、摸不透,但仍流露出一份原始的真實感。

設計本質的體現
作畫人有其獨特的一番見解,而觀賞的人亦可領悟出更多道理。棋人香港的創作總監Aramis同樣被William Scott的作品所觸動:「當我第一次看見William Scott的作品時,讓我產生興趣的是畫中的簡單線條、構圖及其鮮明的用色,它似乎很具象地刻畫着一些物件,但卻又抽象地簡化了那些物件。我想起兒時我們都不理解透視學,都會把立體的物件畫成平面。透過他的作品,我感到同一種單純,這可能是簡化物件之後所產生出來,就好像以一種最原始的角度訴說着物件的形狀,正如畢加索所說:『我一生都在學習像孩子一樣畫畫!』。相反地,有些時候當畫家畫盡每一分毫的細節,就幾乎連細胞都畫出來,我們都可能感覺不到真實感,因為成長後的我們的靈魂都太多雜訊了。William Scott卻簡單地把真實畫出來,而這種簡化的方式在作為設計師的我眼裏具有極大的參考價值,因為設計都有着相似的本質,是應該把一切複雜的事變成簡單易懂。」

William Scott認為自己是個抽象派,煎鍋和水果本身一點都不有趣,只是一種繪畫的手段或符號,幫助他研究空間、形式和色彩。從抽象到具象,再由具象回到抽象,他的畫作箇中所蘊含的情感,可謂妙不可言。

撰文:王以珞
美術:王曉澄

Sensation is the most erratic and indescribable thing in the world. Taking a rectangle as the example, its quadrangular shape is just a superficial feature, while it can actually refer to a piece of paper, a frame of a window, or even a vast ocean, depending on how the viewers interpret it. William Scott, a British artist, reveled in drawing still objects in kitchen—especially frying pans, to express different inherent meanings. During his drawing career, he used arbitrary composition of lines and colors, which contributed to the dialogue between abstraction and figuration.

Capture Beauty in Plainness
William Scott was born in Scotland in 1913 and raised in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, where he started to attend art courses. The place he lived was a serene fishing village with the absence of busy and hectic streets. Having stayed in an austere environment for such a long period of time, he had cultivated a strong sensitivity of things surrounding him, and he once said, “I find beauty in plainness.” He was good at demonstrating different things, such as kitchen utensils, fruits and women’s figures, in a rather eccentric and abstract way. In the 1930s, he began to learn painting, and of all types of painting, he was enamored of still life. The early works of William Scott are more figurative which show clear contrast between lights and shadows. In addition, the intense use of blue color evokes a sense of serenity and yet, freshness.

After the Second World War, the artists had entered the epoch of turbulence. They were very anxious about the future since they did not know how to promote artistic creation. Entering the 1950s, however, William Scott were inspired by the American art style, leading his works to a total stage of abstraction. Abstract Expressionism is first developed in New York. In contrary to displaying fine details, this style focuses on expressing the emotions of the artworks, as well as stimulating people’s imaginations. William Scott brought the concept of Abstract Expressionism crossing the Atlantic from America to Europe, and therefore became one of the most influential artists in British art history.

Appreciate the Aesthetic Value of Still Life
If you have seen the paintings of Picasso, you may have discovered his affinity for guitar. In fact, Picasso’s guitar is a stand-in for a female body. The frying pan drawn by William Scott is akin to Picasso’s guitar, in a sense that it acts as the carrier of some metaphoric values, despite serving as the trademark of him.

William Scott always applied a large area of the same color to an object. And this way of expression is very captivating. He himself pointed out that behind the pans and pots, there was sometimes another image, a private one which should be sensed rather than seen. He would also draw different food including fruits, fishes and rice. Without fine and smooth lines, his drawings are imbued with strong texture, as if we could feel the existence of the objects. Also, the flattened, elongated nudes drawn by William Scott actually refers to landscape. The objects are covered by a mysterious veil—they are intangible, but reveal a form of primitive realism.

The Embodiment of the Nature of Design
Painters create their works with specific intentions, but the viewers can also have new insights from the artworks. Aramis Yeung, the Creative Director of Chessman HK, is mesmerized by William Scott’s works. “When I first saw William Scott’s paintings, what intrigued me most was the simple lines, composition, and the vivid use of colors. It is just as depicting some objects figuratively, but at the same time, abstractly simplifying them. I remember back when I was a child, I had no idea of what was Perspective. We would draw flat pictures in a two-dimensional way. Through his works, I can feel a sense of purity, which may be evoked by simplifying the objects. It is like telling us the shapes of the objects from a primitive perspective. As said by Picasso, “It took me … a lifetime to paint like a child.” Conversely, sometimes when a painter delicately carves every detail—even the cells—of a picture, we still cannot feel the realness in it. Because, as we grow older, our souls become less pure. Yet, William Scott used a simple way to articulate the realness. As a designer, I think this simplified way of handling things is an invaluable reference. Design has the similar nature, which is to transform complexity into simplicity so the work can be easily understood.”

William Scott insisted that he was an abstract painter. The pans and fruits are not interesting in themselves. Instead, they are just the means or symbols of making a picture, so as to facilitate his study in space, form and color. From abstraction to figuration, and back to abstraction, William Scott’s paintings demonstrate profound emotions and humanity.

Text: Elok Wong
Art: Agnes Wong

ISSUE #202

IN-BETWEEN ABSTRACTION AND FIGURATION

 

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