1958 January Diary entry written by Noel
January 1958 (no day specified) Diary entry in letter From Noel not addressed to anyone
To find a technique capable of recording every nuance – every tone – every form, with like the million mesh openings in a science –
I want to find a technique which frees me from over attention on things which hold no interest for me & which allow me to concentrate immediately on building the “picture – field – as the whole pictorial experience”
Pointillism as practiced by Seurat is a superb attempt at finding this super-sensitive technique –
I am not sure I am the kind of artist who can be self-consciously limited in his technical means in this way – but on the other hand, perhaps a distant cousin of pointillism would serve the purpose without restricting my impulsive nature too much -
As I see it, the whole past century has seen the evolution of several ‘new’ technical approaches come into existence – why can’t an artist, faced with such an array of technical means at his disposal, make use of them or and of them? Perhaps technique like pointillism is only in it’s infancy as a method like the Fugue before Bach, Seurat is only the inventor & greatest practitioner of this approach – perhaps great works could radically be produced using a similar technique.
The fundamental urge experienced by most of these recent exploratory techniques is the desire to break up the approach to objects & re- assemble it in a form which allows of more comprehensive
In a major work such as “Coney Island Beach”, my reasons for using a system of millions of separate segments would be
a) Achieve more complex color harmonies
b) Achieve delicate & complete structural interrelational control.
c) Be able to concentrate more or less methodically on area after area because I am happiest when carrying through a partially already formulated idea
Also, I am quite sure that one of the reasons Seurat was able to follow through so successfully on works of great magnitude was due in part to this having a system to control the executive operation – almost like following a recipe in cooking – however, in my concept there would be great allowance for relaxation of approach here & there so the over-all effect is not wooden – the only constant would be the “key” or segment relationship – unlike a puzzle the pieces are all the same size – relative to the size of the canvas of course