Before and After Being Young, 1987
Oil on canvas
120 x 84
Collection of Gordon Lockley and George T. Shea
Ross Bleckner regards his striped compositions as confrontational. He intentionally denies the optical transcendence of a pure abstraction, in this case by adding a central emblematic figure and delicate scrollwork borders. Overlaid with these decorative elements, the upright stripes provide a visual field embedded with emotional content. In merging the ornamental with the abstract in a commemorative context (indicated by the title), Bleckner creates a space in which meaning and sensation combine. When a viewer engages with such a work, he or she confronts the ability of abstract art to carry subjective meaning.