I remain flexible in my approach. On one day I am dominated by one element, another day, a different element. My progress is toward utilizing all elements, all principles, all acting well, all controlled, all spirited. all engaged simultaneously. Perhaps I use the term Principles and Elements of Art too loosely; below this post are the formal definitions.
To be more specific, the artwork I show today is intensely interested in surface. Surface is denoted by texture. Texture indicates space, proximity, rhythm, contour, and harmony. So, for me, in my present state of mind, today's works are a mishmash of the Principles & Elements of Art transported thru my basic desire to create space that is touchable, that is harmonious, that rhymes and rhythms itself in front of the viewer.
Principles & Elements of Art (from Wikipedia)
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.
Art is all about finding one's personal niche... that which looks right to me. This is a major problem, because a complex and sophisticated personality, such as Vincent van Gogh, creates work that is not easily recognized by others. Viewers do not feel familiar when looking at images that are deeply personal but created by another person. Lack of personal familiarity breeds discomfort. People did not buy paintings by Vincent van Gogh when they were first produced. In fact, it is said that Van Gogh sold just one painting in his lifetime. This brings me to me. My work is increasingly personal, increasingly different from anything I have seen before. What am I supposed to do with this? People are not familiar with these images. I am not familiar with these images. Yet these images look right to me! Do they look right to you? I think they will look right to anyone that gives adequate time to openly dwell upon them. After all, the images may be alien, but the use of the principles and elements of art are the same as they have always been. Also, I am not using radically different media from that which has been used for over a millennia.
PRINCIPLES OF ART: Balance, emphasis, movement, proportion, rhythm, unity, and variety.
ELEMENTS OF ART: Line, color, shape, form, value, space, texture.
Playing the fool is admirable if it produces surprise and wonder coupled with actual and substantial self-discovery. At least, that is my thesis for today. Self-discovery hopefully leads to self-knowledge. In other words, I am jumping into artistic territory I do not fully comprehend. This is necessary, but it also yells at me to be cautious. So I ask, "Am I squandering? Am I misspending, frittering away my time-limited life?" I am going to go with, "No!" For now, this feels the right answer.
Yesterday's painting, and yesterday's drawing, play with color, space, texture, form, and space. Both are light filled renditions with three-dimensional spatial definition. Production relied upon my intuitive feel in utilizing the commonly defined "Elements of Art". I am not going to question my success or failure. This is me, the fool jumping in. Working this way does feel exhilarating to me, despite my lacking full intellectual understanding. Perhaps, by writing this, I am being a fool. After all, isn't the manner of work I describe here the normal artistic process? It is researching possible solutions without bias.
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