There is a line denoting the top front rectangle of the space creating structure within which the main form lies. (That was a mouthful!) I am questioning that line. In this state of the painting, "2016 No.14", the main form appears behind the upper line of the spatial box. I left it that way because I question the line's position relative to the form. "Should the line go in front of, or behind, the limb?" Looking at today's reproduction, I think the limb should lie behind the line. This linear questioning continues in my drawings. I am questioning spatial truth versus composition. I do not believe a line need always speak authentically in terms of the space it denotes. A trick of space is sometimes better then reliance upon that which is known to be true in the real world of our walk-around experience. This is art. It is artifice. It speaks for itself. Art is a lie that informs one's knowledge of truth. This means that confusion within a work of art can make the viewer better know the actuality of truth.
I never know from where the reference comes. It must be referential. Right? Can anything be made without reference? One sees, one reads, one experiences — the references to past experiences, sensual and intellectual, have to be there in everything one creates, no matter how original it feels. Actually, writing this feels trite. Duh!
In any way I look at it, the battle within never ends. Truth and correctness are difficult to identify. The search to be true never ends. Doubt is impossible to dispel. Here I am, asking, did I referenced an image from the movie "Donnie Darko"? Did that red come from something I viewed in the immensity of other people's paintings I have seen? It doesn't matter! Does my work unravel a piece of me? Does it make my self-knowledge more lucid? Yeah, that's what matters.
A friend of mine recently completed his M.F.A. degree in Graphic Design. Most important to today's discussion is the information he imparted in his thesis, "Negative Space" (2016, Vermont College of Fine Arts, R.Schellens, author). I have always been conscious of the problems of negative space, so much so that I have often reduced those problems by clogging my works with forms and marks. Mr. Schellens' adamant opposition to this view is elegantly illustrated in the many works he reproduces in his thesis.
Yesterday, suddenly, drawing No.1 appeared. It startled me! In it, there is none of my standard definition of ground. This drawing avoids my oft used line to define the space that is the vertical background from the space that is the horizontal ground. This insight, coming as it is with negation, tells me that Richard Schellens deserves kudos for it! I also thank Mr. Schellens for his positive review of my painting "2016 No.11". It has been altered from the state he praised (reproduced in yesterday's post). This painting is now complete. I have now moved onto "2016 No.12", with lessons learned, and fight in me to get those lessons correctly acknowledged within this newest painting.
The dunce hat has appeared, but does it have meaning? It does establishes space and time. I am referring to the yellowish, near-central, cone-like object in the painting "2016 N0.9".
Today's title refers to my approach. Moving, as it is, toward intuitively made decisions. The process feels authentic, correct. The information, and the questions, feel to me like clarity. My visual art is exhibiting more deeply imbedded knowledge and inquiry. It is self-investigation. I am cross-examining myself and responding with answers. Are these answers right or wrong? Over time I will whittle away and discover. Hopefully I will be smart enough to separate truth from fiction.
My newest painting, "2016 No.8", began with paint called "Torrit Grey", made by Gamblin. The paint was a free add-on to a recent order of brushes and canvas. Curiously Torrit Grey's pigments are listed as "ALL", the fine print saying its pigments were gathered from the factory's air filtration system. Curiously, it is not grey, it is brown, as seen in today's reproduction of "2016 No.8".
Yesterday was a good day. I am moving quickly toward freedom in three-dimensional abstraction, separating from the visual reality of our real world, but dependent on how we see light, color, and form. This is beginning to make intuitive sense to me. It feels right. Composition is outshining reality, yet the reality of shadow, light, and form are there to play with, to compose with, to emote with. Yesterday's drawings explore this too. The space is compressed, but open to the possibility of deeper artifice of space.
The impossibility of correctness is undeniable. This applies to reality and to reproduction. Today's reproduction of the painting "2016 No.6" is particularly troublesome. It is, however, not the problem that drives me forward. The thrust of my life is me falling down the pit of consciousness, allowing myself to bump on its walls, taking a bang here and a bang there, all for the good of better understanding. I think that's happening. I think that's how I work. In any case, yesterday's work was good work. I do understand more. I do think my path is sound. I do believe it is my path, my path alone and lonely.
There ain't nothing like a hound dog! The problem is understanding. What exactly is a hound dog? I do not mean its physical appearance. I mean, what makes a perfect hound dog? It has to be a spiritual thing. The problem I am facing in my painting is this comparison between what is seen and what is actually there. Yesterday's drawing sits with me comfortably in its complexity. But the painting, "2016 No.6", is not sitting comfortably. Today I will take a step toward this painting's simplification. Trial and error is one means to understanding. This is research, after all.
The new and different manner of approach, in my painting, is paying off. This one ("2016 No.6") is spilling out in a way similar to my drawing. It feels right. It feel better. I feel more in touch with the process of painting. The previous couple of paintings, Nos. 4 and 5, often felt uncomfortable in their making. Particularly (I believe) because of the under-drawing. The under-drawing sometimes made me uncomfortable, like paying attention to the lines in a coloring book. "2016 No.6" is being made far from that feeling. It is me drawing and inventing as I make the thing. Funny it is, that the method of approach is so very important to the authenticity of the process.
Yesterday's drawing is a good one, but reproduced badly. It is more harsh here, than in person. I have mentioned this before: the more subtlety within a drawing, or a painting, the more difficult it is to reproduce it well.
What's happening? From my viewpoint (which is limited because I am on the edge of my knowledge) my painting is looking for a way to coexist with the knowledge my drawing exhbits. I can call the last painting ("2016 No.5") a failure, or I can call it a realization. I prefer the latter designation. The painting "2016 No.4" is too complex, the painting "2016 No.5" is too simple. Some of my drawings hit the "sweet spot", where composition, atmosphere, form, and the artifice of light, sing together. I have not found this "sweet spot" in my painting. My painting shows confusion. I need to unsnarl and disentangle. I say this about my painting because my drawings show knowledge which has not fully been seen in my painting. It is in my head. It is there. It must be picked apart and reassembled during the act of painting. Yeah, color is a problem that does not exist in my drawings. Color is not an insurmountable burden. Color is a bonus. Color adds to the force of the art-work. Then what, exactly, is the problem? It is approach. In the next painting I will abandon my use of acrylic marker to find the initial image. I will paint as I draw. I will discover in the act of painting as I have been discovering in my drawing.
There is a place between fullness of form and a light-filled composition that is a sweet spot. Did I find it? I cannot say, "Yes, it is found!", because the best of all is never found. I did get closer.
In yesterday's drawing I question if a sweet spot exists between recognizable form and robustly abstracted composition.
I am more convinced than ever that my art is more about questions than answers.
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