Diamonds and Pictographic History


The Diamonds do not ostensibly conform to "classical" Abstract Expressionism, and in even casual review reveal marked differences from the balance of Strong's oeuvre to that point.  However, upon closer examination, one can readily discern his perception of the Diamonds as extensions of the parameters of Abstract Expressionism through singular imagery, palettes, and surface treatments. 

The Pictographic History of the Oglala Sioux, Dvinsk to Portland, 1975, acrylic on canvas, 95" x 69"

The purity of the form had an emblematic, heraldic presence for him, and he was intrigued by the evolution of the juxtaposition between the structural restrictions, the implied stoicism of the form, and the expressionist use of color and gesture.

 

 

The Pictographic History of the Oglala Sioux, Spider People, 1975, acrylic on canvas, 95" x 69"

Strong refers to himself as a practitioner of an "impure" kind of abstraction, "polluted" with references to natural forms, conceptual issues, or figurative/mythological images; within that framework, the Diamond series is not deviant.

 

 

The Pictographic History of the Oglala Sioux C, 1975, acrylic on canvas, 95" x 69"

The use of the spirit-line continues within the Diamonds... in some the spirit-line predominates with foreground aggression; in others, it recedes, relegated to a minor role as it is almost effaced by more primary geometrics.

 

 

The Pictographic History of the Oglala Sioux, The Center Cannot Hold, 1975, acrylic on canvas, 95" x 69"

 

 

The Pictographic History of the Oglala Sioux, Black Medicine, acrylic on canvas, 95" x 69"

  

The Pictographic of the Oglala Sioux, The Treaty of 1868, 1974, acrylic on canvas, 95" x 69" 

The Diamond series continued until late 1975.  Then, backing away from such pronounced symmetry, he began the Lyric Song series, still conceptually-based, yet evidencing a more relaxed approach. (1)