I have often wondered, "Why did I reject academia?" I chose not to teach art. This was, and is, a BIG risk. I have not been employed in doing the thing that is my career. Instead, I live modestly, with no BIG reward for living well looming in my future. The manner I approach art-making reveals the story of my choice. I am going it alone; I have rejected the academic. This kind of career is not a straight line — I am not making academic work in result or in process. I am a seeker of self-truth based upon the history of self-truth seekers, from Van Gogh to Cézanne to Matisse to Giacometti. The painting, Seriously?, exhibits this non-academic searching and seeking. It is wandering, state after state, to nothing anyone else could produce but me.
I have been playing for a long time. There is this need in me to make my art more emotive, less cerebral. Cerebral comes across as academic. Academic comes across as pleasing but dull. Dull is never good enough. Dull does not last. I want my art to have lasting power. Without lasting power why do it?
Yesterday's drawings are me lashing out at my own academicism. I know too much to be dull. I know too much to rest comfortably with repeats of my knowledge. I do not do simple repetition. My intellect is relentless with curiosity. I consistently test my knowledge by questioning all I have done. This is the endlessness I am.
There is a lot of art being made today that is plain vanilla. It is what is expected. Perhaps it has always been this way. The vast majority of artists have always repeated that which is given them. They follow the present day cultural norm. In many cases it is good art. It exudes the dictums of well known principles. Not every person can do this. It takes talent. Thus is the separation of the talented academic from the common artist. I am hoping I am not simply an academically talented artist. I am hoping I am the artist who sees the making of pictures as an experiment in wonder. Thus appears the risks I took yesterday. I am aiming at substance discovered, not substance known. I believe the painting 2017 No.9 is made as discovery. I have never seen anything like it before. It speaks truth to me. That is its importance.
Yesterday's drawing also surprises me. Even though it feels mostly made from formula. There are five standing objects. All on solid ground: normal space, punctuated by forms. In spite of this normalcy, these forms have interesting qualities. Each is well drawn. The viewer perceives all sides of them, even the surfaces that are in deep shadow, This is an academic success! It proves there is validity in art made mundanely. I may have written disparagingly of this kind of art in the first paragraph of today's post, but here is a drawing saying OK.
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