It can get very confusing. Knowledge is a strong, but power can distort possibilities. If power be fully followed, the consequences may not fall comfortably; the result may be incorrectly conceived. Failure occurs because power was allowed to precede knowledge; power has the ability to push aside a level-headed approach, thus diminishing the ability to secure a well measured result. Great art is balanced by perspicuity. With this I look at yesterday's work. I am insecure with it. The painting feels unfinished, not forceful enough; the drawing is a risk in value contrast and form contrast. Do they work well? Are they successful in engaging thought and feeling? I must think about this; both these works make me nervous. Or, is my nervousness merely a sign of the times I am living within?
Note on reproduction: Today's reproduction fails to accurately represent yesterday's actual drawing. The more a work of art relies upon subtlety to convey its ideas and emotions, the more the reproduction of it fails to impress.
The image I show today is simple and complex; it gives comfort in its clarity, it is exhilarating to observe its complications. But is it satisfying to me? It does not feel completely correct. There is something missing, something not-quite "me." It is organized well. It is simple, it is refined in organization, it calls for contemplative investigation; all that is all well and good. What, then, is missing?
Recently I have been looking at a lot of works by Francis Bacon, and I have also been studying many works of Ellsworth Kelly. Both stir my loins; I find both successful, effective, potent, and compelling. How, then, do I combine these two motives in order to make my art? This question highlights my current struggle to be free, to be me.
The struggle to be free is all about the rectangle. I have to fill that rectangle with notice. I have to fill it with emotion and intellect. I have to fill it with truth and authenticity. I have to make sense within it, thus allowing the viewer to make sense with it or without it. The viewer is outside of it, looking in. My images must engage immediately with immediacy. My images are becoming this, a reality unto themselves derived from all I am and can be. I have found freedom by acceptance of the rectangle's requirement of full frontal truth. I am now able to perform on the highest level of intellect and emotion. This is what I got, so here I am showing it off!
The cliché about the elephant in the room is upon me. Direct, emotive, head-on, purposeful slam and damn, is necessary; it is no longer possible for me to ignore. I have tried to avoid this elephant, this inevitable realization; my art has suffered because of my ignorance.
Yesterday's work recognizes reality; I accept necessity. Yesterday's drawing, and the changes made to the painting, "Amidst a Falling World," are actualizations of necessity. Viewer engagement requires the image be immediately recognizable; this means it must be without pretension. It must sit squarely, recognizably, in front of the viewer.
Nothing else need be true than this: each work I make should be made in an immediacy of purpose. Yesterday I got closer to this; you can see it, I can see it, in these drawings.
Unravelling continues... This process is linear; it is forward, step by step, with an occasional backtrace to double check it all makes sense. This feels good. It is rewarding. There were times when I wondered if my great efforts were worth their enormous dilution of time. Effort is worth it. I know better with each mark and stroke. Yesterday's efforts continue to look to negative space as emotional conductor. I want my viewers to feel my work as I feel it.
In a few days you will see a new page on my website, MEHRBACH.com. It will become my Catalogue Raisonné. I have prepared its first four reproductions. Henri Matisse once quipped something like this: "If you ever get confused, go and look at your earliest works. They will instruct you, they will teach you your real interests." That is exactly the effect the beginnings of my Catalogue Raisonné are having on me. I now understand the reason the art of Ellsworth Kelly is driving me. It is purity of emotional statement; it sings beautifully, speaks honestly, to me — I understand it; I want to emulate those deep, profound emotions that Ellsworth Kelly reveals in his work.
Yesterday I took another step toward my personal panorama; these are direct, emotional statements, but not as purely emotional as I know I can achieve. Negative space, as a felt, instructive substance, is becoming one of my goals.
Three Paintings by Ellsworth Kelly
Yesterday's drawing is worth its try. I am looking to excite the entire two-dimensional surface. I'm looking to engage emotions upon first site. The insistence of two-dimensionality, which is true for all wall-hung objects, is undeniable. I have tried to deny that, but the hour is getting later; I want to express now, not later. So, here they come. One after another; I am going to hurl images at the viewer, all in acceptance of my human-ness, reality, and my angst. I want to be here to stay, but I know that cannot be true. Full acceptance is pictorial two-dimensional acceptance; 2D limitations embrace both space and time. I live in a 3D human world where 2D images hang on our walls. Okay, I accept it! Now, here come the real.
I am fully aware that the greatness of Pablo Picasso began in his youth. Early on in his artistic life, Pablo accepted the limitations of space and time; his acceptance occurred far earlier in his life than my acceptance of the same. From my earliest days I rebelled against limitations. Pablo accepted the reality of limitations, then he worked within those limitations to create amazingly disparate images. I show you one (below), because it is related to the drawing I created yesterday.
"Look!" I am becoming exceptionally aware of negative space; inside and outside of negative space reside emotions, power, profundity, and intellectual clarity.
The recesses of mental and emotive nuance are many. The game I play is finding hidden truths. But, why are they hidden? It is our human capacity to be persuaded by optimism; optimism produces false and distorted memories. I want to believe I am well. I want to believe I am whole. I want to believe I have dignity, I want to believe I am intelligent; all this desire distorts truth. Truth telling is difficult because truth is diffused by desire. Yes, I desire to make art so true and fine as to be immediately recognized as true and fine. However, no easy road to truth exists.
Daily, I show up in the studio. Daily, I seek to make visual truth. Today I show you yesterday's efforts. I believe they are very good; very good, meaning they are authentic steps toward truth-telling.
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