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Flower Head

Although Flower Head may read as a representation of plant anatomy depicting a stamen set against a flattened corolla of faded petals, it is not simply an abstract rendering of a flower frozen in time. It shows an organic process, an evolution, subtly revealed by way of the artist’s unconscious. This physically and emotionally commanding painting by William Baziotes evidences the significant influence of Surrealism upon New York artists around World War II and their exploration of the unconscious mind.

Baziotes was one of the earliest artists in the United States to employ automatism. By relinquishing mindful control of the paintbrush, it was thought that the artist’s unconscious would take over and reveal inner emotions. “Once I suggest the suggestion,” he explains, “I begin to paint intuitively. The suggestion then becomes a phantom that must be caught and made real.” Flower Head is ultimately a personal work, meant to be subjectively felt and experienced and closed to precise interpretation.

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