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.
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