Feeling a lot in the making of visual art means pushing the possibilities that marks and forms allow; this is done in order to approach the craziest of emotions while sticking to the time-honored definition of a rectangular plane's ability to be seen properly by viewers. Communication is engagement; engagement would not happen if the images created are far afield from the recognizable. A viewer must be somewhat comfortable in order to enter, then explore. It is in the exploration that art is made and art is seen.
Yesterday's drawing is one more effort to bridge the gap between all that is known and all that I know and feel. I am working hard to keep myself, and the images I make, centered. "Centered" is full acceptance of me in the world. All is possible if I limit myself to real possibilities, not to a wish list based upon fiction and fantasy.
As elegant as yesterday's drawing is, I feel it is missing an element I seek. More clearly: It is missing the center of the element I seek. This drawing lacks a nucleus! Perhaps I do recognize there is a nucleus within its negative space. Is that enough? I don't believe it is. I require a positive nucleus to feel my work has become appropriately and properly me. As example, I show you a work by my mentor, Philip Guston. In his most abstract period, Guston (unlike his buddy, Jackson Pollock), understood the need for a painting to have a focal point. All-Over is not conducive to viewer involvement. All-Over is a cop out; it denotes a loss of interest in topic (as abstract as that topic may be). The painting I show you below, by Philip Guston, has a title relevant to today's discussion as well: "Zone", The title is unnecessary because its relevance is in its obvious visual nucleus.
My art is, indeed, unique. It must be questioned. Is this the best I can do? Does this represent me? Am I engaging the viewer in a conversation about the here and the now and who we are? Does this approach make sense? I am asking, "Am I wasting my time?" Is my work valuable to more than just me? Doing it feels like mediation; it profits me. I want more. I want my art to be relevant to everyone. Touching everyone, with emotion and intellect, is impossible. Many won't pay attention; many are just not interested. A lot of people are preoccupied with other things.
I am strongly committed to the journey I am on. Again, it feels like meditation. As I make art, my thoughts come in/go out, new ones arrive, old ones depart; time is irrelevant; being is relevant.
Yesterday's drawing achieves much of my recent ambitions. It is classically centered. It hits the viewer head-on. It plays well spatially. It plays with contrast of forms and contrast of value; this image is static, yet demandingly varied; thus it causes the viewer to come straight in, wander, linger, and think. Still, I question, "Is anyone paying attention?"
Practice can both consolidate and invent. I am trying to do both. This drawing achieves both. One thing I especially enjoy about this drawing is its formidable, large forms.
My process accepts the appearance of self-instigated demands. When demands occur, a solution must be dealt. You can see this in yesterday's drawing; this is the first use of this kind of top-half trapezoid in my work. It drives the view back in space while also forcing the viewer to accept the drawings central theme. It calls out my acceptance of head-on, centered, classical compositions.
The struggle to be free is all about the rectangle. I have to fill that rectangle with notice. I have to fill it with emotion and intellect. I have to fill it with truth and authenticity. I have to make sense within it, thus allowing the viewer to make sense with it or without it. The viewer is outside of it, looking in. My images must engage immediately with immediacy. My images are becoming this, a reality unto themselves derived from all I am and can be. I have found freedom by acceptance of the rectangle's requirement of full frontal truth. I am now able to perform on the highest level of intellect and emotion. This is what I got, so here I am showing it off!
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.
Despite a vaguely illegitimate title for this blog-post, this is an excellent drawing. Reflecting upon Anselm Kiefer's work, thinking back to Picasso's best paintings, I began this drawing with a dominantly frontal, center-balanced composition. The intention, no matter if perfectly secured, was to approach the making of this drawing with centeredness. This allowed me to play forcefully with forms and create a strongly realized ground; thus keeping the residue of center-balance while freely inventing emotive forms.
Below this post two substantially centered paintings are reproduced, one by Kiefer, and one by Picasso. Both also create three-dimensional depth, which I now believe requires a sturdy and centered composition to pull off well.
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