I am encountering an expected major problem for an artist with my propensities. How do I integrate the background with the robust forms I create in the foreground? This is a problem because of my natural desire to create sculptural forms. Why don't I just make sculpture? I tried that. I did not like it. It takes too much time to manipulate large forms, as well as enormous studio space and enormous cost. There is also color. I love color. I also love to control and manipulate light. Playing with light crossing forms is so much more direct in drawing and painting than in sculpture. So, here I am. I must deal with the inherent two-dimensionality of canvas or paper as I produce artificially drawn three-dimensional forms. To make the actual 2D work well with the artifice of 3D is not an easy task. It took Cezanne a lifetime. I am committed to this. It looks like abstract forms may allow me to research more directly with this 2D/3D problem than having to worry about the efficacy and meaning of actual forms, human or otherwise. At least, that is how I feel today.
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.
This drawing is more "head-on" than I have been making recently. Even my last few paintings read more like landscapes, or room-scapes, then facades. This reminds me of Claude Monet's artistic development (see three examples below). Early in Monet's career he was very interested in the third-dimension of the landscape, as in "The Road from Chailly to Fontainebleau" (1864). By mid-creed Monet was making facade-like paintings, as in "Rouen Cathedral" (1882). Monet concluded his career making absolute facades, as in his many paintings of "Water Lilies" (1919).
I am thinking about facades versus 3D-scapes because I am trying to work through this inherent conflict in picture-making. Yesterday's drawing is more a facade than the drawings from the previous day. I mentioned Monet development, but the "Father of Modern Art", Paul Cezanne, instinctively understood painting as facade. Even his earliest work screams with "I am flat" (after Monet's work, see Paul Cezanne's "Orchard in Pontoise" from 1877, Cezanne died in 1906). To conclude, the flat plane forces an artist to deal with a picture's ultimate insistence on two-dimensional composition. I am working out this dichotomy within my artistic nature. I definitely have a problem to solve, given my propensity for manufacturing the third-dimension while scratching and feeling the surfaces of rendered forms.
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