I am working very hard to act properly. To me this means I accept, while I act, that I do not require verbally describable thought to make art which articulates truth. I am feeling my way through these recent drawings; if there is conscious thought (and surely there is), it is far from verbal. A viewer of the drawing shown immediately below this text said, "But what does it mean?" I'm not saying, because it speaks its own language. Just as I know when the hand (or the nose, or the face) in a drawing is true enough for me to stop fiddling with it, I know when a drawing's overall image is true. Today I will make an effort to follow the same means of making a painting as I have accepted in making my drawings. I feel I am in a new arena of activity, which is becoming my norm. At the end of this post I show one of Eduard Manet's greatest masterpieces, In the Conservatory (1878-79). I show this painting to illustrate that truth in art is far from verbal description. This painting depicts two people, as do nearly all of my works. This makes clear the reason I feel so close to Manet. His psychological need to describe interaction between people is as abstract as mine. Below In the Conservatory I quote a description of this masterwork from Gandolf's Gallery, a blog devoted to the exhibition of art. Notice the hands of the couple in Manet's painting. This feels familiar to me, as the hands of two people in my work often encounter one another in search of intimacy.
"Manet preferred compositions with two figures as opposed to the straightforward portrait form because it opened up the possibility of interesting dialogue situations. The double portrait of Jules Guillemet and his wife, painted in the conservatory of the painter Johann Georges Otto Rosen, is one of the most important of these works because of the sensitivity with which it uses the most delicate nuances of colours and contrasts to describe and re-connect the psychologically tense, only outwardly detached, relationship of the two figures.
"The theme of the picture is the interplay between the elegant lady (the owner of a fashion shop in Paris) and the gentlemen turned in her direction. He seems rather small due to the way he is bending over and brushes against the upper edge of the picture, while the feminine beauty with the effortless noblesse of her extended posture occupies a large part of the picture space. Despite their being separated by the back of the seat, with its own graphic appeal by virtue of its transparency, the understated focal point of this rich conservatory scene with all its plant forms and subtle colours is the hands approaching each other."
- Gandolf's Gallery, December 5, 2011
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