Tonight at 5:30pm I give a Gallery Talk at AVA Gallery. Yesterday and today I have been preparing. I have assembled a slide show of works; this was extremely instructive. I have been given a gift of speaking about myself for an hour! The slide show illustrates my artistic development, from pre-student days until today.
I made the drawing you see here during the last couple of days. I continue to be distracted by preparation for my exhibits. It is intruding on my artistic investigations. I have been drawing, but not painting. I relish contemplation of my current ideas and my current art. In writing today I am trying to convince myself there are merits to looking back. Looking back is preparation for being now. The process of becoming an artist is not a straight line, nor is it filled with assurance and confidence. It is questioning everything created. Along the way there is insight, exhilaration, and depression.
I very much forward to being an everyday artist again. I delight in the simplicity of going to the studio, working through my many ideas. This will not occur again until mid-June of this year.
Historically the latter days of summer, late July thru August, have seen me more contemplative than me sparking fresh ideas. This appears to be true in yesterday's work. First I made a new drawing (above), then I did a little fix to Drawing 07.27·2017 No.2 (below). Rarely do I go back and contemplate drawings from my past. I did yesterday. This is the mood I am in. I believe this is a gathering of energy and information prior to my next big creative period.
Wild 3D (1990), and Tele-Vision (2015), both oil on canvas
The more things change the more they remain the same. Twenty-five years separate the creation of the paintings reproduced above, yet they have remarkable similarities. I am not going to make art for the next 12 days. Instead, I am going to spend my time mulling over the current state of my work, its efficacy, its derivative history (both internal and external), and my ongoing mission to make it relevant to myself and to you, my viewers.
Drawings of 7/16/2015, both 20X16 inches, pencil on paper
I have been unable to get into the studio for a few days, but I am back today. The drawings shown today are 6 days old, reminding us of where I am.
I am not sure of the exact meaning of yesterday's drawing, posted above, but it could be two of me. The left guy is erect, confident, with large, open hands; he is strong and ready to go. The right guy is leaning back, leaning away, head sideways; he appears fragile with his small, closed hands. The right guy definitely lacks confidence. I am feeling very good about my artistic development. I will never be fully satisfied, but I am relishing the journey. I believe, for the first time, that I have gathered the necessary tools to do whatever needs to be done. I have reached a high degree of mastery. I have confidence I can achieve that which I can conceive. Through my art I want to interact with the world. This blog exists because I want to communicate. However, this blog's limitations are obvious. Therefore, I accept the necessity to engage in the business of art. I need to get my art out there, into venues that may be seen by those who are emotionally engaged in the visual arts. I also wish to make my art accessible to all and everyone. This brings me to today. In the past I have had many exhibitions, shown my work in important galleries, and been juried into competitive shows. During the past four years I have stepped back from that sort of engagement and I have been writing this blog, exhibiting my work here. Late last year I began to feel the need to step back into the brick and mortar world of gallery exhibitions. I put out a few feelers and applied to several juried competitions. Nothing happened. Call it rejection. So, today I begin to think as a businessman who happens to have visual art as his product. Every Friday I am going to devote time to this effort. Today is Friday.
...row, row, row... refers to my having very little to say in recent blog posts. The images are coming, but not the words. I would like to think my images are supplanting words. That the images speak for themselves. That I have no great passion to verbally explain my thought process because the visual work is explaining itself.
Daily readers know I have been struggling with an accurate reproduction of Asparagus. Today's image is closer than usual, albeit imperfect. The bug (fly?) did move since my previous post.
Yesterday's drawing was sustained and methodical. Every once in while I return to feeling my way through ALL the surface of a created form. Yesterday's drawing had that kind of contemplative process. I was swept away from recognizable thought, which felt good during the process.
One other superficial idea came to me. I am beginning to title my paintings — this makes for quicker identification, and allows conversation without confusion, which is inherent when titles are numeric and date driven. However, I do not wish the interpretations of my paintings to be driven by titles. I named my most recently completed painting with a four work title. Now I believe it is distractingly verbose. One word titles are better for my intentions, i.e. let the viewer construe the interpretation. This said, I have reduced my most recently completed painting's title to Heresy. This shortened title appears below the painting's reproduction on my website, MEHRBACH.com, but not in this blog. This blog, after all, is a diary of my thought process. I will not go back in this blog's post to change its title. I think one of best titles of all time is Guernica, Picasso's great anti-war painting. Being one word, it can be referred to easily; the title, Guernica, immediately brings with it the mental image of the painting with little encumbrance of verbal distraction.
I nearly forgot about this part of me, this underlying sense of the comic. One has to accept the humor of living as a consequence of the definitive fleetingness of our existence. Nothing is really serious. It is only our invention of ego and history that causes our investment in actions as important. So I am very happy to see the resurgence of humor in my drawing. I am surprised! Once again I am reminded that the consistency of practice brings unexpected benefits. This is why art is research. Just when you believe your work has paid off in self-discovery, another layer of fog gets stripped away. You discover, you renew, you remind yourself who you authentically are. The drawings of the last two have this kind of authenticating importance.
As incredible as it seems, this painting just found itself. Untitled-01·02·2014 is now home, but not home free. The next phase for this painting has been burdensome and difficult for me in earlier paintings, i.e. getting all the individual forms within the overall composition working as best they can, expressing as much as they can. But, as I become better at my craft, closer to my personal expressive identity, I believe this will be easier for me. For instance, those jumble of hands and fingers of the man on the right must be sorted out to make this painting have maximum impact. I feel excitement within me to make this happen well and correctly.
Well, well, well. Surprise me and I am happy. Yesterday a new painting began and I finished the drawing I started on 12-31-2013. Both make me happy. Both have substance and acceptance. Why should acceptance make me happy? Because it has been a long time coming. There is a wisdom out there which says education can tie you to the past. Perhaps I have been a victim of that circuitous problem. Here I am, stepping out, following my intuition and my authentic self. This is scary, as I have not seen these things before. There is security in making a painting that looks like one made by Pablo Picasso. The world has learned to look and to see Picasso's work as valid and meaningful, and this includes me. So I am a little nervous as I give up the valid works of the past and enter the new realm of me, myself, and the authenticity of now. I must bear with myself, and I ask you to do the same.
Having the ability to look back at the origins of Untitled-11·27·2013 can only amaze: The reality I was living in yesterday was so different than on the day I began this painting, i.e. 11/27/2013. Even compared to its previous state (#4) it is very different. Most striking is the change to the male figure, which now resembles a mild mannered boy, rather than a skeptical older man. This painting has certainly moved away from a theme of man/woman to man/animal observer. The color, and the dual nature of the atmospheric effects, will continue to develop. The forms within the painting require a lot of refinement. Then there is the firming up of the composition, which feels more like a splash across the canvas. It must become an expressively interactive space organized around forms, atmosphere, and color.
Yesterday's drawing was interesting. One thing for sure: the drawing is a study of the man's hair in the painting. Let me not diminish it to that alone (there is much more there than just hair).
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