I have many artistic ambitions. I worry I have too many objectives. I aspire to make art that functions well through many means: value, form, negative space, three-dimensional space, two-dimensional space, composition, and much more. I worry this may lead to confusion. A good work of art must show it itself through initial simplicity. A simple entry entices the viewer to become engaged, to pay attention, to look deeper, to see more. Complication is enriching only if the viewer hangs in there to absorb it. I think yesterday's drawing achieves this fullness; simplicity first, then satisfyingly complicated. This drawing is the last I will frame for my one-person Bromfield Gallery exhibition, opening June 5. Enjoy here! But please, see it in person at Bromfield Gallery. It is better than its reproduction.
Nothing feels easy right now. I am five days away from delivering my art to Bromfield Gallery. I am trying to continue being an active, creative artist. Distractions due to assembling an exhibition dominate my time. There are logistics (making sure timing of everything works wells, from truck rental to delivery and hanging), to framing, to price list preparation, to final touches on canvases. In the midst of all these practical concerns I made this drawing. The distractions slowed this drawing's creation to three days. Does creating over an extended time period diminish spontaneity? Not sure, but it is a good drawing. Will it appear in my Bromfield show? Perhaps it will.
Yesterday's drawing centered itself with three various forms; you can follow them up its center. The three-forms culminate in the blimp-like object, which is largest of the three. My struggle to make this drawing took two days despite my marking it as yesterday's. It is about me. The struggle to make it is me. It started simple; it became dark and questioning. This drawing illustrates insistent centering. That is me. I am trying to find a way to center myself as I move through the muck; the muck that is practicality. I am preparing for my Bromfield Gallery Exhibition (paintings & drawing to be delivered June 3). This preparation distracts me from the impetus of my art, i.e., self-discovery.
My major artistic struggle right now is staying open to instinctive possibilities. If I touch success I discover grandness of light on forms and between forms. My effort is a struggle for enlightenment. I am working to be fully aware of everything, from the emotional potency of negative space to the emotional potency of forms and light. A piece a paper is an artifice of light, form, and negative space, but it absolutely is not an artifice of my personal awareness. My art measures me. It slams me up against my knowing. I am trying with all I have to stay so open as to fully know success and failure. This is a blunt process. I walk away from each art-making event knowing the depth of my comprehension, as well as the limits of my seeing, my knowing, my feeling. Yesterday's drawing was just one more step along this path, my journey in quest of light and enlightenment.
My methodology has changed. My last two drawings were made in faith, trust, and confidence. Risk has become easy. Conscious thought is not present. Drawing is a simple exercise of distinguishing truth from falsehood. Drawing is an exercise of distinguishing veracity from mendacity. Drawing is about fabrication without falsification.
I am creating images never seen before. This might seem a stumbling block to truth-telling. How can one know if something is right if it never existed before? My images are emotional truths built upon classic standards of visual art. Therefore, differentiating truth from fiction relies upon my experience of seeing and feeling. I know a visual truth when I see and feel it.
I continue to struggle to keep thinking, to keep making art in the midst of manufacturing. I am making stretchers and wood panels, putting my paintings upon them. For my drawings I am cutting matts, placing them in frames. Within the discomfort of my current situation I made this drawing. It is a good one. It triumphs over my struggle. Right now I feel this is my plight. Perhaps this is always. I believe, if I just keep doing it, I will triumph. I stick-in there, keep thinking, keep doing; I have not found a problem I cannot solve. My ideas pull me forward. The first limitation is the quantity of my ideas. The second is the amount of time I have to research, to solve these ideas on paper and canvas. I have many ideas, more than I have time to follow. Ideas just keep spilling out of me. I worry about time. It is the limitation of time I worry most about. In his poem, On Living, the Turkish poet, Nâzım Hikmet, wrote, "You must take living seriously that even at seventy, for example, you'll plant olive trees — and not for your children, either, but because although you fear death you don't believe it, because living, I mean, weighs heavier." My paintings, my drawings, are my olive trees; I plant them because my ideas weigh heavy. I must nurture them, make them real. I do not relish looking forward because, although I fear death, I do not take my time to believe in it because living overwhelms me, is heavy upon me. Yes, I take my moments one at a time.
On Living --Nâzım Hikmet (1902-1963)
Tonight at 5:30pm I give a Gallery Talk at AVA Gallery. Yesterday and today I have been preparing. I have assembled a slide show of works; this was extremely instructive. I have been given a gift of speaking about myself for an hour! The slide show illustrates my artistic development, from pre-student days until today.
I made the drawing you see here during the last couple of days. I continue to be distracted by preparation for my exhibits. It is intruding on my artistic investigations. I have been drawing, but not painting. I relish contemplation of my current ideas and my current art. In writing today I am trying to convince myself there are merits to looking back. Looking back is preparation for being now. The process of becoming an artist is not a straight line, nor is it filled with assurance and confidence. It is questioning everything created. Along the way there is insight, exhilaration, and depression.
I very much forward to being an everyday artist again. I delight in the simplicity of going to the studio, working through my many ideas. This will not occur again until mid-June of this year.
This blog informs my art because it is here I view my work with fresh eyes the morning after it is made. My blog is a personal, mental disruptor. Everyday I leave the studio feeling I have done good work, thinking it the best I was able to do on that day. The next morning I come here. I upload photos of the images I made the previous day. I am always surprised. They are right, or I missed something. I know when they must be altered, fixed. Today I show you the drawing began on 05·10·2019 but now revised; this is its second state — my subtle alterations have made it much better.
The distractions that are preparing for an exhibit are annoying. The stream of consciousness that is art making is disrupted. This is not all bad. Insight is often found through the disruption of normal behavior. Last year, after I returned from my major exhibit in Brooklyn, I made great, insightful paintings. I fully expect this will happen again after I am done with this exhibition season. Actually, those insights are happening NOW. Seeing my work on the white walls of a gallery is enormously informative. Also, I have been unable to work on the painting, "How's It Gonna End", because I had to put my energy into framing and touching-up older paintings. This distraction has forced me to see necessary changes "How's It Gonna End" is requesting. Order is occurring because of chaos.
My AVA Gallery exhibition opened May 10. I have been manufacturing frames and panels for the work going to my Bromfield Gallery exhibition (opening June 5). Between my labor I made this drawing. Enjoy! I have been trying to enjoy. Recently I have been mostly a carpenter rather than an artist. That will end soon. I will be very happy to be totally engaged in making art again. This will happen sometime in mid-June. Till then I will be going back and forth, from planning and executing exhibitions to making art.
As wonderful as this drawing is, it is NOT all I want. I have been looking; I have been staring at my past drawings. I look, then pick out the ones I find most appealing. The more insistent the 3D spatial introduction the more I feel their emotive power. Today I will make an effort to draw from this need of mine. The 3D space you see in yesterday's drawing is minimal, it is not as robustly 3D-animated as I wish. I want the viewer to be pulled in; I want the viewer to drop into a place filled with interesting and emotive forms. The journey I am on to satisfy this need of mine is endless, but it is my journey.
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