If monarch butterflies are conspicuously absent from your image feed, it’s not for their lack of flying (he he…sorry, it’s Friday)…at least not in Memphis. Since the summer started to end, Overton Park has been overcome with these majestic creatures (black and yellow, black and yellow) and it has been my lunchtime, mid-morning, and mid-afternoon break’s mission to capture a couple as they dance around each other.
Along with elusive butterflies, we are marking the end of summer with a send-off, as we enter the final week of Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South. On September 16th, the exhibition will be crated for travel to the Georgia Museum of Art. If there has never been groupies – such as those that followed a touring band like the Grateful Dead, traveling around with an art exhibition, there very well may be now.
Carroll Cloar seemed to have captured that elusive butterfly in his Children Pursued by Hostile Butterflies (1964), as described in the exhibition text below.
“An American post-World War II artistic movement, Abstract Expressionism emerged in New York during the 1940s.It was the first artistic school from the United States to achieve international influence, eventually allowing New York to overtake Paris as the center of the art world. Abstract Expressionism can generally be divided into two groups: the Color Field Painters, who worked with blocks and planes of color, and the Gestural Painters, whose canvases are immediately recognizable for their quickly painted, seemingly spontaneous surfaces.
Cloar’s time in New York coincided with the emergence of the major Abstract Expressionists, including Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), who studied at the Art Students League during the same period. Rather surprisingly, Cloar was fascinated by the works of Pollock, later noting that he “. . . opened the door to giantism and action painting. … He was good.” In addition, Cloar often borrowed from the avant-garde approaches of the Abstract Expressionists, stating “My paintings begin as abstractions, the undertones are abstract. Some of those early-stage effects I like to keep. They come out in the final parts.” In particular, Cloar often painted over an abstract ground of loosely blended colors, rather than on a plain white surface. Sometimes, as in Children Pursued by Hostile Butterflies (1964), he borrowed Pollock’s gestural technique.”
If you haven’t made it to the Brooks to see Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South, try to make it by September 15th. We had visitors from Cloar’s hometown this past week, and they all approved.