Verisimilitude is as much about me as it is about you. My job is to make appearances work for both of us. Your job is to see and feel. My job is to make Artwork for both of us. My products must mimic my vision, make it clear, precise, easy to read. I am talking about personal vision being translated into universal visual language. The two works I show today are steps in the right direction.
This drawing started simple, became complex. I have been making a great effort to keep my statements simpler, more direct, right to the point. Did this one get away from me? I am in the midst of personal turmoil. What makes most sense to me? What allows me to communicate best? I want clear communication for myself, and for my viewers.
There is only one true way; it is hunker down, accept, let-go, realize the real. Real is not easily seen, or easily understood. Real is known. Knowing is not an in-your-face, bold, there it is, kind of thing. Search truthfully, and you shall find. Truth itself is deceptive, yet obvious when encountered with an open mind and open heart. This drawing, from yesterday, and the drawing that preceded it, from 3/1/2022, are the most real I have ever done. Yet, these are pure abstractions. They must be viewed with open heart and open mind, like meditating within the ether of one's memory and time.
Yesterday my energy and intensity stood high. I was flying, stimulated, optimistic. I believed I can produce art of quality and lasting merit. As consequence, today I show two good drawings. I have no doubts. Yes, but... Are these drawings charged with sufficient appeal to be instantly attractive to a large swath of viewers?
Both these drawings make a lot of sense to me. The first is simple, direct, partakes of many of my recent interests, including dynamism of negative space. The second is complex, yet engages with an obvious center. These qualities are important to me, i.e., emotive negative space, and viewer engagement through centering. I believe I have made real the first two rules necessary to profound, emotive art. First and foremost, Art must engage. If that fails, all interest is lost. Without engagement there is nothing.
There is much going on in this living we do. True, deep reflection, is often placed in a convenient cage outside ourselves. Then, miracle happens. It dawns upon us. True becomes real. Truth be found. Here I am, in the struggle for truth. That is my job. This drawing is one filled with insight, yet unsatisfactory. Full truth continues to be a few steps away.
Aristotle wrote, "Style to be good must be clear.... Clearness is secured by using the words that are current and ordinary." In Song of Myself, Walt Whitman states, "He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher." And here I am. I have learned from my teacher (Philip Guston). I have now removed all his idiosyncratic ideas from my works. I did not destroy him, as Whitman suggests I do, but I have moved away from him, I have created my own style.
Clearness is an issue with me. I am working toward strong personal engagement with my viewers. Aristotle's idea is important to me, i.e., use of ordinary language is necessary to clarity. For me, the visual artist, ordinary language is visual art's most basic principles and elements. The most basic language of art is non-representative; it is color, form, composition, surface, value, et cetera. Basic visual art language also contains imagery because it has form and it contains the artifice of light. The viewer may call this "Representative Imagery," but I do not want to dilute meaning in art by representing something perceived in the real world. I have destroyed one idea of Philip Guston's. Guston's late work, it allegiance to simple, Representative Imagery, is the distraction I have destroyed. It must be destroyed because it hinders perception of the actual expressive quality that resides in the basic language of visual art.
Yesterday's drawing exhibits an exploration of surface, surface as a flow of light and space. As I made this drawing I thought of Mark Rothko's work. Rothko's clarity was his reduction; his painting are reduced to expressive play on surface and light.
It is becoming increasingly clear to me, profundity requires clarity. Here they come — drawings and paintings with more clarity! Looking back, was I afraid of full, unabated clarity because complexity hid my confusion. When I did not feel a high degree of artistic knowledge I mucked around with complex images, looking for truth within the muck. Well, is that not the way to enlightenment?
The struggle to be free is also the struggle to be self-lucid. My work is paying off. Often I have thought I am too confusing to understand myself. That confusion must translate into being too confusing for my viewers to understand, Perhaps a true journey in life is one toward simplification based upon enlightenment and insight. Life, after all, is in the moment., making life's work a simple endeavor. True living is being true to undeniable truths. When we accept our transient reality, which limits us into here and now, we live better, we are happier. We are mortal, we are here, we are now, we know in the moment. We build understanding with our monetary insights. These drawings, the ones I show today, are momentary insights. Consequently, these drawing are more lucid to me than anything I can remember in my oeuvre. Perhaps they will be more lucid to you, my viewers, as well.
If there be alteration, let it be toward simple, potent, true. The drawing is state #2 of Drawing 04·15·2021, the painting is state #7 of "No Living Thing Can Exist Without It". Both have moved toward more direct, more comprehensibility, i.e., "Get to the point, damn it!" This is correct way for me. Confusion confuses. I have done confusion to myself too often. I have scurried around, looking for understanding, leaving a trail of questions without pure answers. Purity is required, whether the answer is final, and just a step along the way, "get to the point" is necessary. Actually, both should be true, finality and "just a step" in many more steps.
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