Are shame and humor closely aligned? You often hear that women find men attractive who humorously self-deprecate. Daily readers of this blog know I have been physically and emotionally stressed by my recent social activities. Strange as it may seem, this brings shame. In the studio I have felt out-of-touch. This usually means there is a disconnect in my personality. Where is reality? Most likely I distrust as a result of mental and physical exhaustion. Yesterday I looked for humor in art-making. Did I find it? Not sure. I did find an idea worth pursuing. On my studio wall I have a reproduction of a still life by Pablo Picasso. I admire it because it hits hard through use of humor. I need more of this is my own work. I have said before, Picasso's masterpiece of war and destruction, "Guernica", is made tolerable through Picasso's humorous invention of form. Below I reproduce for you two of Picasso's still life paintings, the first from 1938 (during World War II and one year after "Guernica"), the second from 1962. I believe art can me made more available to the viewer, no matter what emotions it carries, if it has a sense of humor.
Walt Whitman wrote it better than I (see Whitman's poem at end of today's Blog Post).
I am the flinging spider, looking for things to hold onto. Moving from one hold to another, always... "Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,—seeking the spheres, to connect them; Till the bridge [I form be a] ductile anchor hold; Till the gossamer thread [I] fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul."
Spider Fling, by Walt Whitman
I am recovering from the intensity and indulgence of Thanksgiving Dinner, family and friends. Nice! Yesterday I spent some time in the studio, not a lot, but enough to try using a piece of old printmaking paper to support my drawing. It is rougher in texture than my usual paper, also a bit yellow (today's reproduction accurately depicts the paper's subtle yellow surface). The pencil went on differently too, scrapping across the paper's robust texture. It also erased differently, leaving more traces of strokes gone wrong. I returned to an old image. This became an activity filled with déjà vu. (At moments like this I always think of Yogi Berra, who said, "It's déjà vu all over again.") Yes, yesterday was a relaxing day, a gentle return from a big meal and social activity.
There is something important about yesterday's drawing. It is animated, both in figuration and abstraction, from the space, to the forms, to the play of values, to the marks of light versus dark. It also has a sense of humor. All these things I respect.
Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014 moves, but slowly. The head of the woman in the right panel has dominated my introspection and activity. As of yesterday I think I have it the right size and in the right position. Now to finish it well.
To read my profile go to MEHRBACH.com.
At MEHRBACH.com you may view many of my paintings and drawings, past and present, and see details about my life and work.