The drama and solidity of this composition tells me, "I am here! Here, at last!" Getting to the here and the now, with complete honesty as the tag, makes this moment real. It has not come easy. Can I sustain it? Why not? Philip Guston sustained it, and he was no less human than I. This is the most important part of Guston's mentoring. If not for Philip I could not have understood this as the most important component of making art.
Energy in movement is reentering my work — BIG! I have missed it. There is wonder in me of where things go in the interim between search and find. I search for nirvana in personal mindfulness, yet I often wander through a maze of ideas in my hunt for pure, blissful, truth telling. These drawings do speak loudly of the importance of being present while drawing, present as one is in the energy of one's mind. These drawings speak of me and not of ideals or delusive inquires into those who have come before me.
Adolph Gottlieb has instructed me; simple contrast can create complex, emotional images. Yesterday's drawing was one experiment in that direction.
Adolph Gottlieb's works have always fascinated me. I know why. I am struggling fro self-expressive potency; my images never fully satisfy me. Gottlieb's works use a simple formula, over and over. Gottlieb uses a round, cleanly organized shape in contrast to an explosive, jumbled shape; in addition, his images exude positive-shape intensity against supportive, residual negative space. The positive shapes are rich, the negative space lends them fierce interest. This contrast, of shapes and space, sings a potent, emotional message. I do not make flat shapes. My complex, three-dimensional forms have greater opportunity to sing emotions than do Gottlieb's simple, flat shapes. I will stay my course. Gottlieb's simple formula educates; his formula lends charge to visual imagery; his exude husky, emotional responses. In this regard, I believe I can go further than Gottlieb. Adolf Gottlieb's limited formula has instructed me; simple contrast has great possibilities; obtaining more accurate self-expression is possible!
As elegant as yesterday's drawing is, I feel it is missing an element I seek. More clearly: It is missing the center of the element I seek. This drawing lacks a nucleus! Perhaps I do recognize there is a nucleus within its negative space. Is that enough? I don't believe it is. I require a positive nucleus to feel my work has become appropriately and properly me. As example, I show you a work by my mentor, Philip Guston. In his most abstract period, Guston (unlike his buddy, Jackson Pollock), understood the need for a painting to have a focal point. All-Over is not conducive to viewer involvement. All-Over is a cop out; it denotes a loss of interest in topic (as abstract as that topic may be). The painting I show you below, by Philip Guston, has a title relevant to today's discussion as well: "Zone", The title is unnecessary because its relevance is in its obvious visual nucleus.
There is a certain moment in the Oeuvre of every artist I admire, a moment of transition, out of messy questioning and into disciplined clarity. This is my moment!
Yesterday felt right and good; I knocked around my images, as one does when searching a wall for a solid stud. These images, the ones I show today, are solid. They hold their own, They have strength and dignity. They demand perusal. They give satisfaction. That said, the painting,"Clever Liars", is incomplete. It requires sheer work, mindful work, to reach finality. It is almost there; it asks me, "When is enough good enough?" In others words, its essence is true; I cannot get much more truth by adding nuance, so why continue to develop it? Here is where a discussion of perfection is relevant. Simple it is: Intuitively I feel the need to make each one of those bright, cone-like objects, truly lit, truly three-dimensional in feel — their surfaces must feel touchable, like an egg in a Chardin still-life (see below).
The drawing is complex, indomitably readable, pure in its contrast of forms, forms left versus forms right. It this gaslighting? Does it make you question your sanity? My intension is to educate, not to admonish, "Ultimate sanity is comprehension, then acceptance; Contrast is part of our social order!"
I am at a point of departure. I am stepping, not particularly caring where I go, but resolutely. This is not a time for self-judgement. It is time to allow images to be born out of intuition, deep knowing intermingled with angst. All bets are off; all absolutes are off, dependency upon past masters is off. I am just doing it.
I show today images like nothing I have done before; nothing I have seen before. Have you seen anything like these? These works are allowed to exist because they do not crush past knowledge, they enhance it. They are informed by the past, but they step out from it, not from underneath it.
Perception of space is perception of contrast. In these drawings I push value contrast as well as size and shape contrast. The other play in contrast is strict, geometric shapes (created with straight lines), versus organic abstracted forms (created with curves, oval, and rounds). These drawings are insightful. See also these types of contrast in the works of Francis Bacon and Ellsworth Kelly.
These works are not the endgame. These show insight, knowledge, acceptance, influence, and communication skills. I am on a road; I am recovering from delusion. I once believed I lived alone with artful insight. This is not a lonely man's game. I am communicating with you. The past (Art History), and the present (the real-life viewer, who lives here and now), are my true measuring sticks. I am better for accepting the truth; there is a requirement to proper social intercourse, which must be accepted in order to be seen, to be understood, to be believed.
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