“Without work, all life goes rotten, but when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.” -Albert Camus
I could not agree more. There are days I enter the studio with lack of intension. Motivation is there; I want to do something. I resist soullessness. I cannot, will not, be stifled. You can see the problem. I am not dead. I do not want to die. So, I forge on, I begin, I make art! In actuality, I find myself through work. It is my way to link myself to this state of being. It is my work that recognizes my soul. This revelation enlivens. I do exist with purpose. Yesterday's drawings were invigorating. They revived me through disclosure. They exist as exposé. I am what I am. This three-dimensional compositional research I am doing is opening a floodgate. Here it comes, with many answers. It is my job to sort, to find the answers that confirm purpose to existence.
I am optimistic. This year, 2017, is off to a prolifically strong start. Yesterday I began my third painting this month, this year. It is strikingly different. Is that better? No, but it continues my research. Seek and I shall find. Yesterday's drawing also has robust queries. This is, indeed, more and better!
From whence comes impulses? Do I follow them? Am I wary of narcissism? Or, are these impulses effectively communicative of emotional and intellectual normalcy? The test may be comparison to historically effective decisions and historically effective results. I am unsure. In the heat of making art I can only comprehend that which feels justified, right now. The painting "2017 No.2" looks finished to me. I will look again when in the studio. Art-making is the search for normalcy. Normalcy is substantial. Abnormalcy gets immediate reaction, immediate attention, but has no long lasting substance. Of course, I want my work to sit in front of viewers with so much to say as to be enduringly communicative.
Yesterday produced a volume of work seldom seen in one day of work: four drawings and a new state to the painting "2017 No.2". Art-making busy means verbal scarcity and visual abundance, at least in my case. Such is visual research. In the midst of this current research all is to question. At this moment, I want answering appropriately to be undefined. I do not wish to clarify further because I fear it would characterize my work, which might distract me from the questions I must continue to ask.
As a young Buck I thought I wanted to be like Pablo Picasso. Lo and behold, from years of work and consequential decommissioning of my original, desperate impulses, here I am. Picasso's work is unrelentingly attractive to me. But, I think I am more like Giorgio Morandi, the slow and careful researcher of image, rather than the blustery, exaggerator of visual reality. If you look below this post, you will see reproductions of paintings by Morandi and Picasso. I love them both. They both have influenced my work. You can see similarities in Morandi's light and form in my work; you can see in Picasso's painting similarities to my forms. Stepping back... "Who cares?" I am becoming myself. That is the importance. It is not important that my work references other artists' work. I very much enjoy looking at the works of both Giorgio Morandi and Pablo Picasso. This is the significant message. There is great value in identifying that which attracts me, makes me look with pleasure and glee. It aids me in knowing me.
Is means a satisfactory route to an end if the end is a good one? I cannot answer this in political context. In terms of art-making, "No!" For me, art is ongoing research. Day by day I ask questions. Day by day I get answers. Some days the answers are more profound, more meaningful, more important to accept as valid. Through effort, over an enormous amount of time, I find authenticity through the art-making process. Currently it appears buffoonery is accepted by a great number of those who have wealth and political clout. These are the people who have the resources to buy the best art that has been made on this planet. I must ask the question: Should art follow? I say, "No!" Art is a different animal. It is a process based upon personal values and personal truth. It is a practice, like meditation, different for each us but filled with commonality. Through commonality profound communication occurs. Such communication cannot be offensive. Thus the difference between good art and politics.
Yesterday's drawings continue to explore simpler forms against contrasting backgrounds. This, plus the three-dimensions advanced by the foreground forms and shadows, create an artifice of 3D space. Pattern is also being explored as instigator of defined spatial planes, as seen in drawing No.2, and also seen in the current painting on my work wall, "2017 No.2."
There is an inaugural sensation to the painting "2017 No.2". It plays with space and light in new ways. It is hopeful in its brightness and clarity. It radiates something new. It is the beginning of a new period of personal artistic substance.
Yesterday's drawing has a black cloud, a wall of stone, and a ground with ominous objects. Yet it is filled with light. Life is good!
Problem solving is a gift we all have. What a wonderful life! The painting "2017 No.2" continues to unravel before me. This morning I walked into the studio, as I always do, turned on the heat. While there I looked at "2017 No.2," immediately realized it requires a more robust background, one that increases its push on the foreground, forcing that foreground even more forward. That will happen today. I find this process marvelous, astonishing, breathtaking. This isn't craziness. This provocation to make better is a basic human prompt.
I am not completely happy with yesterday's drawings. I show them, one after the other, to exhibit my thought process. Only the last one is worth itself as art (IMO).
As rigorous as I am in the studio it sometimes does not translate to my reproductions. Today's reproduction of the painting "2017 No.2" fails to have the light-filled and sensual qualities it actually possesses. State 3 will occur today, so tomorrow I will give another try to adequately reproduce this painting.
I very much like yesterday's drawings. They are not as clogged with information as some of my drawings, thus more accessibly emotive. This seems to be a trend. It is happening in my painting as well.
My ethical dilemma is visually apparent and alive. You see it in my works shown today. Quandary is the game of art-making! The world, as it is now, enlightens me. I realize this game I play is played on a scale as large as all of us, and it is played on a scale as small as each of us. Optimism or pessimism, no matter; it is the work that instructs and unravels and clears the cobwebs that contain lies, conceit, and truth. Slowly I proceed towards enlightenment, whose hallmark is truth and authenticity. Look at yesterday's three drawings. Compare and contrast them. Each sings a different tune of space and time, yet they were all made by me. This is me under inquisition. The only way I can sustain this is with hope. My hopefulness is based upon experience. I comprehend more than I did the day before. There is a jump here, albeit small, noticeable in its visualization. That is the wellspring of my hopefulness.
On January 18, 1915, six months into the First World War, as all Europe was convulsed by killing and dying, Virginia Woolf wrote in her journal, "The future is dark, which is on the whole, the best thing the future can be, I think." Dark, she seems to say, as in inscrutable, not as in terrible. We often mistake the one for the other. Or we transform the future's unknowability into something certain, the fulfillment of all our dread, the place beyond which there is no way forward. But again and again, far stranger things happen than the end of the world.
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