The Albright-Knox Gallery is always well worth a visit both for the quality of the permanent collection and the special exhibits. The gallery is comparatively small and tends not to tire or overwhelm viewers ; the current exhibit is Action/Abstraction; Pollock, deKooning, and American Art, 1940-1976, February 13-June 10, 2009. A day after returning, the image of one early Pollock stays with me....I'll need to look more closely at all of his early work. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed on the upper floor, but included here are a few favourites from the permanent collection.
When you teach, you tend to always write projects. An exercise for a few of my upper year students working with design and expression problems might go something like this, based on the Franz Kline shown in the first photo:
1) base-coat 3 full sheets 22" x 30",...one with blue acrylic, one with pink acrylic, one with, let's say, brown acrylic....mix for opacity. In the overpainting, allow some aspect of the underpainting to 'peek through'. Create a short series of 3 works.
2) use gestural application of black first to create an intuitively arrived at design over the paper. Pay attention to the negative spaces created by the application of the black. Try to create an asymmetrical balance between the shapes.
3) fill the negatives with white acrylic, paying attention to how this 'locks in' the positive spaces.
4) if the overall design created by this stepped procedure is not pleasing or balanced, keep slowly and gradually removing sections of the composition with white, and re-entering other sections of black.
5) let the paint and brushwork retain its natural expressiveness....in other words...do not beat the paint to death by over brushing.