Cultural references are inevitable. Personal references are inevitable. Visual experiences inevitably surface in my art. Art-making is the act of past and present becoming one; it is similar to meditation. Like meditation, art-making accepts the unresting mind. My art encompasses all I have seen, all I know. Internalization surfaces as external images.
Yesterday's drawing holds many keys, each opens a passage to the experiential. Revisiting my experiences, trying to make sense of them, is unending. I can see this process in yesterday's drawing. I am inspired, I am energized, little clues were unraveled. Effort pays dividends. There is no such thing as failure; a lack success teaches the choice that must be made in order to succeed.
I am going to post regularly to Instagram, again.... I am carl_mehrbach on Instagram. Instead of posting to Instagram as parallel to these Blog Posts, I will be using Instagram as an on-the-go, show-you-my-process, site. I will be posting while in my studio; works will be shown in process; albeit relatively poor reproductions compared to the refined ones you see here and on my official website.
Yesterday's drawing was a leap for me. It does playful things with negative space. I feel inspired and energized; very deeply mindful. Finding playfulness in process feels excellent!
The curse of Covid-19 is upon us all, but there is luxury to found within the detriment, distractions, and detritus. It is the luxury of super-concentration upon oneself. This behavior is normally diminished by outside world concerns, like my exhibitions. Now I have less concerns because I am here in my hunkered-downed home and studio. These luxurious moments are available despite sorrow for loss of life and loss of normality.
Yesterday I continued my quest for self-acceptance, and acceptance of the efficacy of flat-on, classical composition. The drawing I made yesterday is complex, but very readable; it moves up/down, left/right, but little to the in/out. It is organized as any flat plane should be organized in order to be read easily, like a page of print with illustrations; nicely two-dimensional in its solution.
The painting I show below is the same as shown in my 4/24/2020 Blog Post. I am calling this painting complete; I show it again because I am struggling to reproduce it adequately. This is take-2, from a photo shot yesterday. Reproduction of my art is difficult, never fully satisfying. That is another tragedy of the Covid Era; for full and accurate impact you are gonna have to wait to see my work in person, as it should be seen, as it must be seen to fully comprehend the nuance that is present in all great art.
Am I using the word, Wonky, correctly? The dictionary's second definition is, "having or characterized by an enthusiastic or excessive interest in the specialized details of a particular subject or field." Well then, yes, I am! I am producing head-on, fully-emotional, fully-intellectual, fully-classical, and absolutely viewer-engagement-oriented compositions. There is no fooling around in these drawings! These are wonky at their best, one after another, all wonk! These are detail oriented compositions. They engage using flat, in-the-viewer's-face, emotionally-instructed forms. Their classicism is their left to rightness, their up and downess. These drawings create the artifice of three-dimensional space, but their 3D-ness is second fiddle to their compositions' 2D formal classicism. Pablo Picasso understood this; Picasso understood classical compositional power better than anyone. The most complex of Picasso's images hit the viewer with the flattest of compositional insistence. See below: Take a look at one of Picasso's most complex paintings. Isn't is easy to read? This painting by Picasso is enticingly, head-on, flat? Enjoy! It is time for me to stop fighting the obvious! Picasso gave in; I also have decided to give in to the obvious.
To drive my point home I show one more painting by Pablo Picasso; this one from Picasso' so-called NeoClassical Period, when the artifice of 3D space was moderated by their 2D Classical Compositions! (Below, see "Pipes of Pan", one of my favorite paintings by Picasso!)
I am obviously moving toward more simple images, albeit complex in actuality. I question the ability of a fully complex image to fully engage the viewer. Today I show one answer to this question. However, the caveat is this, as with Mark Rothko, and Ellsworth Kelly, I believe initial simplicity has the ability to be extremely complex. Yesterday I showed you an excellent Mark Rothko painting; it contains just two floating rectangles; Simple? Not at all! Today I show you a painting by Ellsworth Kelly, black with a floating, flat white form; Simple? Not at all! I could live with either the Rothko or the Kelly painting for a very long time; both would endlessly speak volumes to me.
When does simplification become too much? Am I simplifying? Clarity is an act of decisiveness; Simplification is an act of divorce. That which appears simpler is often more complex. Complexity is a measure of profundity. Simplification is a measure of ease. This painting, "Your Decisions Matter", is complex; it is profound, albeit simpler in color scheme and its number and kinds of forms. Mark Rothko understood profundity; he made, to the unobservant eye, seemingly simple paintings. I leave you with a great painting by Mark Rothko.
I never expect, but I do wish for, an easiness born of complete comprehension. I continually wish my actions to be born of comprehension, great knowledge, and great realization. I want to feel the elation that is comprehensive understanding, aha moments. It would be nice to instinctively know when to zig rather than zag, like knowing the required move to catch a falling projectile. In Art-making this does not happen consistently, nor easily. This is mindful work. The effort to understand simultaneously while acting is relentless and exhausting. Yesterday's work indicates I am getting there; I am comprehending more instinctually with every move I make. This is about acceptance as well.
The recesses of mental and emotive nuance are many. The game I play is finding hidden truths. But, why are they hidden? It is our human capacity to be persuaded by optimism; optimism produces false and distorted memories. I want to believe I am well. I want to believe I am whole. I want to believe I have dignity, I want to believe I am intelligent; all this desire distorts truth. Truth telling is difficult because truth is diffused by desire. Yes, I desire to make art so true and fine as to be immediately recognized as true and fine. However, no easy road to truth exists.
Daily, I show up in the studio. Daily, I seek to make visual truth. Today I show you yesterday's efforts. I believe they are very good; very good, meaning they are authentic steps toward truth-telling.
My focus is moving toward page organization; I desire immediate, full engagement of the viewer. This cannot be achieved without the viewer's first encounter being head-on impactful. I will continue to explore this problem. My looking for answers will never end. You will see me exploring, drawing by drawing, painting by painting. Yesterday's drawings are steps along my way on the path that is this investigation.
There is nothing but work; yesterday, one drawing was made; thoughts and ideas occurred; one step took place; one more step today! (Or, possibly, two or more.)
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