Kazimir Malevich, Suprematism: Airplane Flying, 1915 and Barnett Newman, Via Heroicus Sublimus, 1950-51

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Kazimir Malevich, Suprematism: Airplane Flying, 1915 and Barnett Newman, Via Heroicus Sublimus, 1950-51

Category: Term paper

Subcategory: Art

Level: College

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Instructor’s Name:
Kazimir Malevich, Suprematism: Airplane Flying, 1915 and Barnett Newman, Via Heroicus Sublimus, 1950-51
Kazimir Malevich’s Airplane Flying is oil on canvas artwork composed of simple rectangular forms placed on white background. The composition was Malevich’s idea of freeing “art from the burden of the object” (Nici 400). Barnett Newman’s Via Heroicus Sublimus is a painting that can simply be translated as ‘man, heroic, and sublime. Newman wants the viewer to stand close to this painting and have a feeling that he/she is encountering another human being. Malevich placed the shapes in dynamic relationship to one another. Malevich has used the pure language of shape and color. Both Via Heroicus Sublimus and Airplane Flying have differences regarding representation, color and space, composition, surface pattern, and use of line, and they also have a different message that they are trying to communicate to their viewers.
Malevich was a Russian painter and sculptor who existed during the Suprematism Movement. He was born in 1879 and died in 1935. Under this development, its supporters did not put any intending to the visual marvels of the target world as Malevich depicted through his work. The significant thing was feeling (Kleiner 859). On the contrary, Newman makes the visual phenomena meaningful via his painting. Newman creates a large painting portraying the social space.
Barnett Newman’s Via Heroicus Sublimus is over seven feet tall and over seventeen feet wide (Ellsworth 132). That is, if the average person’s stride is around three feet, it takes five full strides to traverse the image. This image is so large that it throws the viewer into crisis because of the notion of proper distance, thereby, rendering the practice of viewing uncomfortable; the viewer has to move across it, away from it, up close, far away. As if to thwart the viewer’s desire to occupy the correct viewing position, the painting makes the viewer be in motion, actively engaging him/her in a self-conscious viewing process, making him intensely aware of his/her looking.
Regarding scale, Via Heroicus Sublimus sets the viewer in motion in a way that undermines the subject/object, self/another dichotomy. Taking this approach to reading Via Heroicus Sublimus produces two distinct consequences. The first consequence is that it is no longer merely the eye that sees the painting through its pupil, but the somatic envelope of the body that sees through its movement. The second consequence is that such “seeing movement” releases multiple cognitive, non-cognitive, and pre-cognitive ‘knowings,’ none of which is inherently superior and all of which are implicated in his final knowing of the painting. While, Newman creates space by painting an enlarged image, Malevich uses color to create infinite space. The white shading is Malevich’s image for the idea of the limitless because the white squares utilized by the craftsman have all the earmarks of being dissolving its material being into the marginally hotter white of the boundless encompassing.
The work of Kazimir Malevich is a focus on the investigation of immaculate geometric structures including triangles, squares, and circles, and how they are identified with one another and inside of the space in which they possess. In this work of art, a plane is utilized to symbolize the enlivening of the spirit – a spirit encompassed by the opportunity of the unbounded. Malevich utilizes this work of art to investigate the pictorial capability of unadulterated deliberation. The arrangement of the cubic and rectangular shapes is unique. The arrangement is one of a solid, architectonic composition. The picture also achieves high contrast with yellow color contrasting with black color. There is an expansion of visual element accents to the canvas through the utilization of blue and red lines. The background is white in color and although it appears contrasting with the other parts of the picture it is unobtrusive. Also, the whiteness of the background infuses the interplay of colorful shapes by giving it energy. The arrangement, the shading mix, and the foundation draw in the viewer emotionally. The general thought behind Malevich’s fine art is to pass on the conceptual thought of the plane flying in.
Through Airplane Flying, Malevich vividly conveys abstract dynamism unique to Suprematism. He portrays the theme of aviation by generating the sensation of flight without any figurative trace of airplanes except the painting’s title. A large black quadrilateral, angled at a diagonal to suggest steady motion, occupies the lower half of Airplane Flying, along with two smaller black forms (a square and a rectangle) that appear to split off from the larger mass; elsewhere, five small yellow forms break away from a larger yellow rectangle situated in the center.
Regarding form, in Malevich’s Airplane Flying, the form has been reduced to nothing. The forms are spatially arranged and positioned diagonally. This arrangement evokes a distinct sense of harmonious movement. However, it is impossible to discern the velocity of these forms because there is a lack of horizon and familiar point of reference in the painting. The form, flight, and speed of the airplane referred to by the artist in his title must, therefore, be intuited by the viewer. The abstract image in Via Heroicus Sublimus represents as or more powerfully than any figurative painting might or can. It does not allow the human to project himself into a world predetermined by the painter

Malevich makes no attempt to reproduce in recognizable visual terms the aircraft or its celerity. Harte (140) discusses how Malevich has used the airplane as a symbol of human technological evolution that suprematism depicted through painterly masses embodying a similar spirit of evolution and speed rather than through mimetic forms. Airplane Flying reveals Malevich’s desire to convey a harmonious, cosmic form of modern velocity.
While Newman creates a social space through Via Heroicus Sublimus, Malevich created abstract space in his painting through the use of white color. Newman is trying to make it possible for the viewer to have a sense that he or she is there through encountering the image. This sense is not captured by the image nor is it its content; rather, it arises from the meeting between the observer and the real image. This encounter is shaped and amended by the presence of others and the self as presented to others in the social space of viewing. The image allows the viewer to scale himself or herself against the image. In other words, the painting reconfigures the dichotomies of subject/object, self/other into relationalities in which two subjects, two presences, stand, as it were, side by side rather than face to face. The image and viewer each faces up to being seen; to being made visible to others, in their communally constructed presence. Each becomes a participant in the unfolding of this scene as a scene of a knowing in the making (de Bolla 48-49). These are several differences between the two paintings. They are different regarding representation, color and space, composition, surface pattern, and use of line, and they also have a different message that they are trying to communicate to their viewers.
Works Cited
De Bolla, Peter. Art Matters. Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2001. Print
Harte, Tim. Fast Forward: The Aesthetics and Ideology of Speed in Russian Avant-Garde. Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2009. Print.
Kleiner, Fred. Gardner’s Art through the Ages: Backpack Edition, Book E. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.
Nici, John. AP Art History. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2008. Print.