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.
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.
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.
The direction of my research and development is obvious. I am further examining drawing and painting as planar-insistent. This can also be said like this: I am exploring the actuality of the two-dimensional reality of a work on paper or canvas versus the artifice of three-dimensions that may be explored through the act of drawing.
In my last post I showed works by Claude Monet and Paul Cezanne. I showed three of Monet's works, exhibiting his move toward facade-like images late in his career. I remarked that Cezanne, early-on in his career, perceived the canvas as a two-dimensional object. I did this by reproducing a painting created by Cezanne in 1877. Today I show one of Cezanne's last works, made in the year of his death, 1906. Wow! It scintillates with surface marks, thus leaving no doubt one is viewing a representation of a 3D-landscape on a 2D-canvas.
I wish I could tell you that I am always laser-focused, that I always know exactly what I am doing. It doesn't work that way; not for me. Yesterday's drawing surprised me. It is a strange notion. I do not like it. I must have felt it necessary. Something must have interested me! I will give you a nearly useless explanation: It is a study in quirky questions: ◆How far can you lean a figure without disturbing its equilibrium? ◆Can you play with form within a figure and make it feel right (small hands, large head, weird distorted breast)? ◆Can scraping the floor (on which the figure seemingly stands) with linear marks, in an abstracted manner, balance an otherwise off-kilter composition? I could go on with other questions, but this would continue a hopeless and ineffectual exercise when compared to real art-making activity.
"Freedom doesn't exist unless you use it." I heard this sentence, and the title of today's blog post, on a T.E.D. Radio Hour broadcast. It seems 85% of people, no matter their nationality or locale, prefer to follow blindly. That is, the majority of humans prefer NOT to challenge the status quo. Why is this relevant to me and my art? Because I must be part of the uncomfortable 15%. I am stuck in a rut: I can do nothing else but challenge my current views. This is annoying. I am never happy. I constantly wonder about the quality of my art, its relevancy to myself and others. Are my observations apposite to the conversation about life and living? I take the easy way out. I don't know! I do know one result of doing this. The process of art is me introspectively examining all that I know. Consequently, I am constantly moving closer to knowing if this work is worth doing. Worth doing? I am on a path that satisfies by following my curiosity. This feels useful and good! But, is my work helpful to others in their quest to be connected, purposeful, and determinant? That too would be useful and good!
Drawings from 1/16/2016, pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
The painting, Tele-Vision, actually looks a little better here than during my efforts to Photoshop it toward accurate reproduction. This new state of Tele-Vision is much more complex than its previous state, and thus more impossible to reproduce well. It's those reds and oranges that cause havoc. Duplicating the nuances of these colors on a computer screen, lit (as they are) from behind, is impossible. However, I believe you get the idea behind these colors, and the overall feeling of a painting that is being made, more than ever before, as my drawings are made. I am allowing my intuitive ideas to take control, sorting them out through action and reaction. Saying this, I almost do not want you to look at yesterday's staid and rigid drawing. It is a funny one. The path I follow, from work to work, is more about questions than answers. The answers I get are not always admirable or appropriate. Yesterday's drawing misses because I lost interest in the answer to the question. I wanted to know if it would interest me to make a simple figure, fully rounded, mimicking a world of three-dimensional forms. Yesterday's drawing definitely is not an appropriate answer. This question was instigated by the second drawing of 8/1/2015.
It can be a problem to be too serious in an existence that has its mystery of reason. Giving up being "serious" equates to making sense of "Why am I here?". This is important if clarity in personal vision is important. Since I believe clarity of personal vision is important, I will follow this formula: questions succeeded by possible answers. I am able to extract a sense that it is reasonable to exist because I am examining my questions by manufacturing possible answers.
Drawings from 06/24/2015, both are pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
Can you see where these are going? I can not! Back and forth, and all around, they go from figurative to abstract. Consistent is their interest in form and composition. The one obvious is my struggle for authentic expression. Most gratifying is their high quality. It is my search for a simple means to accurate expression that forces upon me the letting go of the falderal. These drawings are moving me toward the point, to the reason, for making drawings. This seems odd to convey, but looking back, I believe most of my artistic career, and perhaps most of my career as living being, has been dedicated to activity as education, not activity as self-expression. There is a hump in one's path. It is the impediment to becoming an expressive entity. That hump is education. I don't mean education as simple information gathering. Good education is trial and error, a colloquy of learning. If successful, one's education gives one the means to decipher the particles in the cloud through which we walk in our daily existence. Most of these particles are required for simple sustenance, but it is those of the metaphysical that are really interesting to me. Mere sustenance can muddle, and even obscure, that which is truly important to understanding oneself. It is my job, as artist, to move through the cloud, to inspect the individual particles that are the cloud, to grab and place in my arsenal those particle that sing truly the language of myself. The rest of the particles are there as support, like the sunshine. Without sunshine we could not exist, but sunshine does not express the metaphysical angst that is the reason for waking up every day and screaming, "We exist for a reason!"
Curiosity is the key to oneself. Following curiosity frees oneself from worries about decisions. Curiosity is freedom from the concern of going one way versus the other. Following a dream allows the wrong path to be taken. There are dream paths that lead to loss and meaninglessness. Dreams are dreams, puff made of smoke and mirrors. Curiosity is the real stuff, made from the origins of intuition. And so it is that the head of the girl in the right panel came to be. It is better, it is more "right", and it was found by following a question I had about size, shape, and meaning. As Picasso was fond of saying, "I do not seek, I find!" Finding is the natural consequence of following one's curiosity. Yesterday's drawing yells loudly, "Curiosity will take you places you never knew existed."
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