by Bonnie Fuoco
Let's Paint
For Hans Hofmann making a painting meant nothing less than recreating the world on canvas and creating a new world—living, breathing, embraceable, sustaining. For Hofmann, a painter could do this by trusting a few fated ideas about what is necessary to make a painting.

The painter creates form with color. Color is key. At the same time, the artist has to compose in relation to the picture plane, the magical, practical reality of the canvas as a two dimensional but limitless field with four points and a surface. The painter must also manipulate positive and negative space so that each carries the value of the other. The painter must understand rhythm.

But the painter had not only to employ these ideas. No, it was much more than that. The painter paints him or her self. Hofmann married this idea to the lessons and laws he distilled from the masters, from Cézanne, the Cubists and Mondrian. For Hofmann, painting required a complex of materials: nature, the medium, the picture plane and the self. "The artist’s technical problem," wrote Hofmann, "is how to transform the material with which he works back into the sphere of the spirit."

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