What's it all about? For me it is about self-discovering my own organization. I have lived a life looking to quantify and qualify, to make sense of the confusion I was born into. I drifted out of a youth organized for me, i.e., childhood nurtured by parents, school, athletics, a science career, being educated as an Artist (Apprenticeship and an M.F.A. under the mentorship of Philip Guston). None of it satisfied me. None of it made complete sense to me. I was told what was seen as correct, not what made proper sense to me. I began organizing myself. It has been a slow process. I really did not know who I was or what I wanted. I decided to abandon the organizations that had been given me, those from outside myself. I began the process of replacing those outside organizations with an organization I had to make myself. This is happening, but very slowly. The process of me abandoning one organized activity after the next was easier than creating my own organized self. Now I am alone. I have to organize myself by myself. I have chosen Art-Making as my organizational process. The problem with this choice is the limits of my ability to organize myself. I have not done well. I believe I have failed because I have not accepted the absolute discipline required to make something fully whole, fully organized. Like everyone, I began with bare bone instincts, instincts I had acquired though education and experimentation. I know now I must choose wisely by choosing to follow the instincts that make most sense to me. Yesterday’s drawings made strong choices. During their process I had to erase bad choices and make better ones. Bad choices come easy. Good choices are hard. Good choices are ones that rigorously follow the basis of my personal instincts; they are the things that make me know “this is me.” Choosing those “good instincts” has not been easy. I must nurture this practice, this discipline of choosing wisely, choosing correctly. This is not easy. My following good choices has been very slow, back and forth, often taking the easy way before the hard discipline way. I have much work to do.
I know I do not know as much as I want to know. This does not make me uncomfortable. This painting is about me seeking truth by enjoying the calisthenics of my instincts. I trust. I have fun because my abilities have withstood the test of making many works of art. I am like Usain Bolt at the top of his abilities, or Tom Brady at the top of his.
Pitting myself against myself is difficult, but necessary. I suffer as I accept the pain that is acknowledgment of the crutches I have used to feel secure. Security comes from knowledge, but knowledge is mostly based upon the past; such as Art History. Easy instincts can be delusional. Becoming oneself requires acceptance of delusion. Delusion is based upon experience. Trueness is found internally. Experience is external interaction with the people and the places one encounters. Places are more pure than people. People are a confusing mess of bias. Bias is quick acceptance of perception. Perception is not always true; what one sees is not always actual circumstance. Ask a magician.
The drawings I show today are from 7/12/2020. In making them I tried to dispel instinct. Instinct calls for me to fill the page with marks and forms. Marks and forms come easy to me. Hard for me is to hunker down into personal judgement. If done well, judgmental decisions make possible immediate perception of truth. This is the suffering part. Eating ice cream is easy; ice cream is a known delight, one that never fails to reward with pleasure. Easy pleasure is ingrained in humans by millennia of evolutionary success. This is bias. I am here now. Easy pleasure is not expression. Easy pleasure is falling into evolutionary instincts. Eating ice cream corrupts the human body. Ice cream is filled with high cholesterol animal fat and pure white sugar, both of which slowly degrade the body when chronically consumed. Chronic consumption, based on instinctual bias, is an obvious corruption of reality. Drug addicts will tell you this; sugar addicts will tell you this.
I am on a quest to find truth, truth free of bias. I want my art to be lastingly true, for me and for those who observe my art. Being internally authentic is not free of pain, particular the pain that is deprivation of easily available pure pleasure.
Searching for success is a long and arduous path. Each drawing, and painting, I make, are one step. Every step has some success, some failure. Seriously, this rooting out my true means of expression is uneasy; it so slow to reward. Yet, I feel rewarded with each step. This drawing, the one I show today, rewards me with a depth of feeling that indicates success; my path toward true expression is real. While writing of this journey I want to inform you of a project of mine: I have a Catalogue Raisonné forming on my website MEHRBACH.com; it is intended to become an all inclusive record of my art. This effort is informing me of my basic instincts; at the beginning of my artistic endeavors my instinct were clear and bright. See them here: Mehrbach Catalogue Raisonné. Below, as example, you can see my first painting, and its inspiration, a painting by the English Impressionist, Alfred Sisley.
If I follow this instinctually-driven road, step by step, my truth shall be revealed.
Here we are in 2019. It is the same. This is what I do. I don't know what else to do. My continuance is a result of my longevity. By living, and doing, I have acquired patience to outlast my frustration. I am confident. If I stick with this activity, this art-making, I will master it. Age has given me trust in my instincts.
Yesterday I listened to an interview of Philip Roth. To my ears, Roth's thoughts rang completely true. Roth said this, "[as artist] sheer playfulness and deadly seriousness are my closet friends." I fully agree. My actions, as artist, reflect my moral stake in everything. I have to get it right. I will not allow deception. I will plug away at art-making as long as I breathe.
Rarely do I post on the same day as the making. Today I found trust, trustworthy instincts were present; it was a dumpster diving day! I dove, despite feeling I did not know what was there to find. I am writing about the painting, Catch-22; it lived up to its name today. At first I didn't want to touch it, but if I was sane I had to jump, trusting I could fly well. Catch-22 is almost complete. This is welcome because I have many ideas; completing Catch-22 will allow me to start a new painting tomorrow. Reproducing today's state of Catch-22 is for tomorrow propitious. I see in this reproduction an important problem that needs fixing. They are the nearly vertical, slight diagonal lines in the extreme upper left and right; they need to be parallel to one another. When those two lines become parallel they will create a background wall between them; all other forms will sit forward of this "wall." It shall be splendid!
Today's drawing, made by trusted instincts, sings nicely too.
Doing this day after day has brought me trust in my instincts and in my intuition. I am going where I have never gone before. If I were not lost I would not be an explorer.
If I continue to have interest in faux 3-dimensional compositions, is there anything but representation? Everything 3D is a reference to visual reality. Or is it? Everything I think has a contradiction. I have accepted the fact that if I am to find my own path I must follow the instinctual. I don't know where this is going. However, I do believe in Joseph Campbell's idea: “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path.”
You would think this is the way it ought-to-be, all-of-the-time, but it ain't! I am having to grow myself into accepting that there are no pre-conceptions. I just need to show up. Showing up means something happens. No plans. No rigid ideas. It is the simplicity of now. If this is simple, why does it feel nerve-wracking? Well, I am admitting I do not know what I am doing. Not knowing is emotionally difficult. It is thinking on my feet, rather than knowing the course of the river. What is around the bend? I do not know. I do not care. I just show up. I just do. It is a surprise. It is self-teaching at a level far deeper than a book of words. There are no words. From whence it comes has not been tabulated.
Drawings from 06/14/2015, all are pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
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