One cannot escape reference. Perhaps most of the automatic has no reference, like a heart beating or scratching an itch. Perhaps the automatic is symbolic. Picasso said making a work of art is similar to closing a window because one is annoyed by a draft. I find that true; it is emblematic in that it refers to a well developed sense of problem solving. I am trying to deal with this difficulty of symbolism within my abstracted art. In my daily making of art I internally reference personal questions. Symbolism must be the result of making a particular work.
I reference F. Scott Fitzgerald in relation to the painting 2018 No.1. This painting looks out, into light. The shadowed interior is a place where the viewer sits and wonders. Do I know more today than when a younger man? The activity of art-making feels the same as it did then. Wisdom and knowledge have obviously accrued. So yeah! Wonder on! I do make art better now than at age eighteen! There is light in the darkness. I see that light more easily. Symbolism in a work of art is an absolute.
Two very interesting drawings were made yesterday. Interesting is that both began the same way; a plane that sets up three-dimensional space, background left to foreground right. The final drawings are vastly different. Things that start the same can result in vastly different ends.
The only way I am going to achieve extreme quality is by delivering an extreme number of renditions.
I cannot satisfy myself. There is no way I can be content with any one image. Everything I make calls another question. Better, yes; final, no. May I live a long life! This said, I do like the work I produced yesterday. I am finding new ways to animate the canvas and paper. 2017 No.9 is calling for artifice of space, artifice of light, artifice of shadow. It is in light and shadow that this painting most interests me. The object in the foreground is a form requiring low contrast because I perceive it in shadow. The background is fully lit, begging for more light in a high value light source.
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.
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