This week and next, there will be, in the entrance hall of the Robinson architecture building, a most absorbing display of creative work called by its creater "abstractions." Remarkable to those unfamiliar with art, and possibly a little bowlldering to the real art-lover, those abstract delineations of literal and emotional ideas, set in color upon paper should interest everyone up to the most insensitive avoider of art galleries.
For, the work of Arthur T. Lougee is sure to prove fascinating to anyone who can appreciate a man and his hobby. Mr. Lougee's hobby, and apparently his life-work for the present, is abstractions, and as such, or as the results of a man experimenting with his pet theories, a brilliant gallery of design is on view.
The visitor to Robinson Hall will at first be confronted be a series of sketches some of which seem to be nothing more than amplified geometrical patterns. Or others of them may seem like drawings that were started with one subject in the mind of the artist and finished with an entirely different one. The disdainful remark of "Huh, surrealism!" may be stimulated by Mr. Lougee's work. All these peremptory thoughts are actually unfair, for abstractions of Mr. Lougee's type merit a more mature consideration.
He divides his work into three types: first, those sketches which have been done with reference to something real. These may almost be classed as impressionistic pieces. Second, there are the purely abstract drawings which have been created solely from the emotional reactions of the author. Third, there are examples of pure designs, geometrical and otherwise, which have been done more for decorative purposes than any other
Pillar of Society
An example of the first or literal type would be Mr. Lougee's sketch of an abstract conception of "Pillar of Society." Here, he shows a strong, distinguished, hardened face in the foreground, with other smaller and shadier faces behind. The flight of the author's imagination has showed a shady pen in the background, indicating that the "pillar" of respectability may have made his riches through smuggling rum. The whole piece gives the impression of a sinful past to the strong central figure.
To the left, as one enters Robinson, is a group of drawings which may be classified under the second type, namely, emotional reactions of the artist set down on paper. Mr. Lougee argues that, if certain kinds of abstract music can arouse a person emotionally, then abstract renditions of light and shade can achieve the same effect. He says frankly that these are but visual experiments, yet, his reactions to Handel's music, for one, set on paper as the essence of great, soaring flames beneath Gothic arches, succeed in conveying some kind of emotional stimulus to the onlooker.
The third type of Mr. Lougee's work, being essentially decorative in purpose, shows many interesting ideas in color. These, he says, may be utilized by the architect or decorator in the decorative design of interiors, or to increase the emotional pleasure of architecture over and above its functional value.
Mr. Lougee is young (Andover 1932) and quite sincere. He declares that he doesn't follow any particular "ism" of art; rather does he try to utilize all of them in his creations. He uses a now technique which he calls his monograph medium on some of his pictures. On others he uses the air-brush, brought into the public eye by George Petty of "Esquire" fame. These techniques combined with a now method of employing pastel colors produce amassingly well-excented sketches.
A visit to Robinson Hall is sure to convince the visitor that the world of art wil hear more of this arinst.