My knowledge is converging into my artistic personality. My artistic personality is a revelation of myself. I do not want my art to be simple manifestation of id. I want it to measure self-discovery deeper than instinct, deeper than my primary intellectual and emotional processes. This is about me finding the reason I am; the reason I exist; the reason my actions have meaning beyond action itself. I know my being has importance. Everyone has importance. Me, the artist, wants to manifest my reason to live through visual imagery. The game I play is this: I actively reveal myself to myself; I make the effort to communicate that revelation to my viewers. We have commonness in self-worth. I am hoping my art allows us to be together, to simultaneously be uplifted by self-glorification. Our existence has value; it has significance because it is consequential.
Yesterday's drawing is immensely important to me. It gathers accumulated knowledge through deep-rooted conversation with myself. I did this in the act of making it. It is simultaneously the convergence of knowledge and the creation of new knowing. This is the process I define as art-making.
Given my discussion today I believe I have made a larger discovery. The current art market revels in found images, i.e., images made by Banksy, Jeff Koons, and (from the the past) Andy Warhol. My art is vastly different in concept; different from those successfully marketed artists. It is not about simple images defined by our cultural camaraderie. It is about images that are layered with nuance of selfness.
I am making an effort to pare down the complexity of my images. They are often made by forms being added to balance off forms already there. This leads to compositions balanced by complexity of means. Such activity-style is convoluted. I am trying to make images more closely fit my intuitively known emotional/Intellectual self.
I am not explaining this well. An analogy is this: If a device can be built in a myriad of ways, it must certainly be better to build it with fewer parts. The more parts the more chance it will mis-perform, perhaps even do something it was not intended to do. It might break completely; its intended function may be lost. Obviously, a quest for simplicity of means in visual art is best. Simple is more efficient, and the intended communication is more likely to be successful.
Yesterday's drawing, in the making, began with a simple hook to bring me in. After I was in I enriched it! This makes sense to me, as the hook gets the viewer's attention, then the sensual subtleties allow one to dwell, like a complex taste on one's palate.
Over and over, look after look, I have been seeing a problem in my drawing from July 18 (Blog post of July 19). I fixed it. What bothered me was the shadow cast by the form in its upper left. It amazes me how a subtle alteration creates an enormous change in the impact of the image. It makes more sense, and rests easier, true and real. That is important, since without realism in abstraction the image looks awkward and unseemly. Below is current state of the July 18 drawing.
The disjunction between the left and the right of the painting "2017 No.3" horrifies me. Is that good? Is that the right emotion? Intuitively I think it will beget a better response if I place a spot of red on the left side. I do use Ivory Black, which is a warm black. That helps, but it begs for more warmth. Tried and true color theory says the color wheel implores completion. The primary color missing in this painting is red. Adding red is a comfortable solution. Adding a spot of red would reduce this painting's discomfort, but is it the right thing to do?
Yesterday's drawings also utilize separate panels within one image. I have always been interested in multiple panels, multiple images, for several reasons. Disparate images request intellectual and emotional unification. Viewers do this spontaneously. The human mind questions without reservation. This absolute need to put together the most disparate of ideas intensely engages the viewer. It is NOT a new idea. Several artists of my generation have done this, none more repeatedly than David Salle [below are reproductions of two of Salle's works, one early in his career (1983), and one from 2016]. Notice, in Salle's paintings the color wheel is comfortably completed, making more comfortable the disparate images.
Everyone who has ever done art-making knows there is no straight line path. It is one step backward for (perhaps) each step and a half forward. Getting to know is hard work. I wish it were easier. Saying this brings me to yesterday's drawings. They have two new "looks". By using a couple of forms impinging on one another, No.1 spills the viewer into the drawing's artifice of three-dimensions. The forms cast shadows, which also helps this 3D-ness. Larger forms in the foreground force the third-dimension upon the viewer. In drawing No.2 the movement is up, not so much in. The small form at the bottom, rounded with shadows emphasizing its roundness, helps the three-dimensional look of the entire drawing, introducing (as it does) the 3D-effect at the bottom of the page, which is then carried by the viewer into entire page.
There is something right about yesterday's drawings. Today I will futher explore this direction. I have become tired of the overall, fill-the-page, approach. Pages emotionally require openess. Clearly, there must be contrast, open space in contrast to the forms. This contrast is necessary to emotionally drive the substance of the overall image.
We walk around with our intellects and our emotional selves, intertwined, both needing satisfaction. For me, this explains the game I play in making art. I want to be fully satisfied, satiated. At the end of the day I want to be spent, no left over garbage. No tool unused. Such is the satisfaction of a good day.
The painting, "2016 No.15", feels spent. Give me a few days of looking before I am sure. Being "spent" means it says as much as I can say, right now. How do my worries about complexity, visual confusion, intellectual satisfaction, and emotional fulfillment, play a role in my declaring "2016 No.15" finished? This is a giant topic. I do not feel able to answer in one blog post. For a quick response to my question, Pablo Picasso's exceptional masterpiece, "Guernica", answers well. My being satisfied with a work of art is indisputably seen in "Guernica" (reproduced after my work). It is filled with forms, knocks you around emotionally and structurally, but keeps you balanced by a supremely centered triangle and by vertical, panel-like groupings on both sides of the image. In other words, when emotions are hot, passionately vomiting sentiment without solid structure leads to perplexing communication (think of an argument with your significant other). Picasso throws heat at us while keeping us centered. We are able to hang in there because of the balance, the intellectual calm of the composition balances the emotional outrage of the imagery.
I made great effort to reproduce yesterday's drawing well. I failed to get the subtle contrast play of the main form against the slowly changing light of the curtain-like background. This is a pencil drawing. The delicate grays of the pencil are lost.
Confusion is here. Yesterday's drawings show it. I am sorting out image priorities. References to actual forms seen in our visual reality may be there, maybe not.
Drawings from 11/29/2015, pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
I have surprised myself with new images, and also the joy of laying down graphite on a textured surface. The paper is the same paper used in yesterday's drawing. The images are vastly different. From where come these images? One possible connection: Yesterday a photo was sent to me by a friend (in an email I opened before going to the studio). The photo shows a strange room in Silicon Valley with people walking amongst floating spheres. The spheres are white with black circles on them (the ceiling, floor, and wall are red with black circles). Unlike my drawings, the spheres do not inhabit the people (people are walking among the spheres). Influence? Perhaps. Most important is my product. These drawings are different than anything I have produced in recent memory. They started differently, were processed differently, and ended differently. I am exhilarated by their inventiveness.
A note about today's reproductions: Both drawing are on the same textured paper. The paper's surface color on the first drawing is closer to its actual color. I did not white balance my camera prior to photographing the second drawing, nor did I change the lighting.
Drawings from 10/24/2015, all 20X16 inches, pencil on paper
I am writing about two upgrades. The first is in my art. The pictorial content of my art has recently expanded in variety ― there is a more brazenly accepted use of imagery. The second is an upgrade in my commercial website (you are currently reading my educational, not-for-profit, web blog, i.e. a .org site). Yesterday MEHRBACH.com added e-commerce! Items available are limited, but will soon expand to offer everything my art has produced, if available for sale. This will include original paintings, original drawings, and high-quality Giclée Prints of every image on the website (plus reproductions of my work you may have seen in galleries, museums, or private collections ― I own copyrights to all of it).
Today's drawings are exceptional. Their images are both representational and abstract, while staying true to my love of three-dimensions being depicted on a two-dimensional surface. These drawings accept my interests. They do not fight my interests. They are introspective, mindful, and revelatory.
I am going as fast as I can. Often I wish my ability to decipher myself was a process more lucid and transparent. This process is one of unscrambling rather than encoding. It is all present, yet must be discovered. It is similar to the study of cosmology. The whole shebang is already present. It is my job to ascertain the best way to illustrate it. This idea of illustration brings me to the question of abstract versus concrete. Goodness knows artists have used both to express themselves deeply and well. Perhaps, I am thinking, there is a means to greater expression, one that utilizes both the abstract and the concrete. I admit, the terms abstract and concrete are a bit weird, and not as descriptive as required. Better I think than words is the confusion present in my new painting, The Leap. I named it after that object leaping over the barrier at the bottom of the painting, but the title is more than simple description of one illustrative form in the painting. What I can tell you is this: the concoction of this painting is more disclosure of personal origination than discovery of previously unknown concept.
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