I do not feel good about the drawings. Something is amiss. They do not fit me well; they feel like ill-fitting clothes; too tight here, too loose there. These are not images I wish to project when out and about. These drawings do not illustrate me!
What do I want? I want to simplify my simple self. I need to make clear my feelings and intellect. These drawing muddy the waters that are my living blood. I want to be deep arctic seawater on a clear blue-skied day: crystalline blue, full of life, cool, pleasant enough to be inviting, straight forward enough to be understandable in intellect and in emotion.
This drawing is a result of a marathon. Perhaps a marathon is a poor description of its journey; marathons take a little over two hours; this drawing took over 6 hours. My first question relates to its complexity: Is it too complex for the viewer to be immediately engaged? My second question: If the viewer is immediately engaged, will the viewer be entranced enough to hang in for this drawing's visual voyage?
The ultimate question regarding my art comes down to this: Are visual voyage marathons an effective means of communication? Or, do viewers prefer simple, direct, right to the point; i.e., give me a visual hit, give me a visual expression of emotion, give me a visual expression of intellect, but make it simple, go right to the point?
It can get very confusing. Knowledge is a strong, but power can distort possibilities. If power be fully followed, the consequences may not fall comfortably; the result may be incorrectly conceived. Failure occurs because power was allowed to precede knowledge; power has the ability to push aside a level-headed approach, thus diminishing the ability to secure a well measured result. Great art is balanced by perspicuity. With this I look at yesterday's work. I am insecure with it. The painting feels unfinished, not forceful enough; the drawing is a risk in value contrast and form contrast. Do they work well? Are they successful in engaging thought and feeling? I must think about this; both these works make me nervous. Or, is my nervousness merely a sign of the times I am living within?
Note on reproduction: Today's reproduction fails to accurately represent yesterday's actual drawing. The more a work of art relies upon subtlety to convey its ideas and emotions, the more the reproduction of it fails to impress.
The image I show today is simple and complex; it gives comfort in its clarity, it is exhilarating to observe its complications. But is it satisfying to me? It does not feel completely correct. There is something missing, something not-quite "me." It is organized well. It is simple, it is refined in organization, it calls for contemplative investigation; all that is all well and good. What, then, is missing?
Recently I have been looking at a lot of works by Francis Bacon, and I have also been studying many works of Ellsworth Kelly. Both stir my loins; I find both successful, effective, potent, and compelling. How, then, do I combine these two motives in order to make my art? This question highlights my current struggle to be free, to be me.
The struggle to be free is all about the rectangle. I have to fill that rectangle with notice. I have to fill it with emotion and intellect. I have to fill it with truth and authenticity. I have to make sense within it, thus allowing the viewer to make sense with it or without it. The viewer is outside of it, looking in. My images must engage immediately with immediacy. My images are becoming this, a reality unto themselves derived from all I am and can be. I have found freedom by acceptance of the rectangle's requirement of full frontal truth. I am now able to perform on the highest level of intellect and emotion. This is what I got, so here I am showing it off!
The cliché about the elephant in the room is upon me. Direct, emotive, head-on, purposeful slam and damn, is necessary; it is no longer possible for me to ignore. I have tried to avoid this elephant, this inevitable realization; my art has suffered because of my ignorance.
Yesterday's work recognizes reality; I accept necessity. Yesterday's drawing, and the changes made to the painting, "Amidst a Falling World," are actualizations of necessity. Viewer engagement requires the image be immediately recognizable; this means it must be without pretension. It must sit squarely, recognizably, in front of the viewer.
Nothing else need be true than this: each work I make should be made in an immediacy of purpose. Yesterday I got closer to this; you can see it, I can see it, in these drawings.
"Look!" I am becoming exceptionally aware of negative space; inside and outside of negative space reside emotions, power, profundity, and intellectual clarity.
The recesses of mental and emotive nuance are many. The game I play is finding hidden truths. But, why are they hidden? It is our human capacity to be persuaded by optimism; optimism produces false and distorted memories. I want to believe I am well. I want to believe I am whole. I want to believe I have dignity, I want to believe I am intelligent; all this desire distorts truth. Truth telling is difficult because truth is diffused by desire. Yes, I desire to make art so true and fine as to be immediately recognized as true and fine. However, no easy road to truth exists.
Daily, I show up in the studio. Daily, I seek to make visual truth. Today I show you yesterday's efforts. I believe they are very good; very good, meaning they are authentic steps toward truth-telling.
Yesterday, while in the studio, I heard Samin Nosrat say, "I actually like constraints. I think it makes us more creative." Samin Nostrat is the author of the cookbook, "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat".
We are all living in a time of home restriction, personally centric space, and social distancing. What remains is isolated creativity. Exhibits are cancelled. Galleries are shut. I am in the studio. I made this drawing yesterday. It moves toward an emotive realization of space: negative, positive, two dimensional, artificially three-dimensional. It is in contrast that makes for emotion; negative versus positive, and real two-dimensional space versus the artifice of three-dimensional space. This take I show today, this drawing from yesterday, moves closer toward my recent creative insight: I am moving toward robust expression of all I am able to express on a flat two-dimensional surface. The constraint of aloneness is good for finding my truth; right now, our world insists on the loneliness of self-dependence for self-expression.
Over the last weeks I have taken risks. I have made many drawings, most very different than the image I show today, Yesterday's drawing is a result of that search, a search through nonsense and failure and some success. I have been in the process of sorting out authentic emotive and intellectual representation, sorting it from the nonsense that resides in my head. For me, nonsense must be seen to be recognized as nonsense; then it can be tossed away. This is my creative process. I like the drawing I show today because it is closer to my personal reality. Making falderal is easy. Making substance is difficult. This drawing has substance.
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.