Inspired by American abstract expressionist art, Color-Field Paintings showcases artist Fiore Ai’s experimentation and evolution in geometric abstract paintings from 1971 to 1974.
Drawn to color-field painting and the “movement of light and colors through space,” Ai experimented with hard edges, light, and color grades to evoke movement, tension, and harmony and to manifest emotional and spiritual experiences. The chronological order of her work beautifully lays out the progression of her style and the power of abstract geometric painting.
The book opens with a brief—too brief—biography, detailing the Beijing-born American artist’s training, teaching, and influences up until the early 1970s. The second chapter is an historical overview of American abstract art and key artists of the movement, from Jackson Pollock to Frank Stella, and important influences in Ai’s work.
Thereafter, four chapters display 29 paintings, from early experiments in color and form (1971-1972) to larger and more complex series (1972-1974). Each painting image is accompanied with text detailing the general and technical aspects of the work. The book concludes with the artist’s view toward her hopes and next steps.
Ai’s descriptive words compliment her images and give insight into the technical complexity of creating each composition of shapes, waves, rays, prisms, light, and hue gradations. Unfortunately, the text presents some issues. In many places, separate words run together. At other times, abstract words muddy an already abstract theme such as the frequent use of “inexorable”/”inexorably” to refer to a painting’s (“unstoppable”/”relentless”/”inevitable”) flow.
Additionally, although the final chapter beautifully expresses the artist’s continued commitment to explore the effects of color, form, and light, one wonders what happened in the artist’s work from 1974 to the present. Also, the book’s narration suddenly shifts from third-person singular to first person plural. (Who is the “we” here?)
Despite such flaws, Ai’s Color-Field Paintings offers a conceptual and visual feast for art lovers, as well as inspirational and technical details for serious artists.
Also available in hardcover.