“I’m not interested in the texture of a rock, but in its shadow.” Ellsworth Kelly
I have been looking at the abstract paintings of Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden, Sean Scully and Jackson Pollock, that in some way intersect with the natural world. As non-objective as these paintings appear, there is something, an underlying quality of line, an approach to color or an interest in rhythm and energy that connect these works with nature.
Kelly has always been aware of the intersection between abstraction and nature as is evidenced by his early work as a camoflage artist for the army during World War II. But also in his early days as an artist living in Paris, he searched for the abstract in all that was around him. What continues to this day, is his interest in making line drawing from nature, particularly from plants. He says that it helps keep his hand in — meaning you need to excersize your ability to draw – you need to feel it in your hand, or you will lose it.
It seems to me that in much of his work you can see the evidence of these lines. While they are not direct translations of the natural imagery, one feels a purpose in the contours of his images.