I did not see this coming. That is a good thing. I am surprised; I am elated. I have nicked the foundation I have formed through years of effort. I have knocked at it hard and resolutely. I did not give in; I did not give up. I nicked, and knocked, and I thrust myself through the barrier of my education and knowledge. I feel scorn for all I believe to be true. Instead, I am a man true to my journey. A destination is not my concern. I want truth. I want real. I want elation. I want to trust my presence is true. I want to trust in my own actions. I do not seek perfection of impulse, nor absolute answers. Questions are more reliable as steps on a path. Questions are posed because I trust little in the veracity of any one answer. These drawings, shown today, are two answers. The surprise to me is their story telling. I am, once again, creating personal mythology. I did this before, during my robust figurative phase, Now, however, I am creating mythology through abstract image making. This is true abstraction. It calls upon the visual experience of myself and of the viewers of my art. There are tales being told. There are emotional identities being created. These are the instructions I have been patiently working to reveal. I have just opened the drawer. Now comes the flood of instructions on seeking personal, abstract mythology. These instructions are not filled with numbered directions, one after another. If followed they do not bring me to a final product. The drawer contains little more than a modus operandi. As with all approaches, this one is suspect. This must not become a habit; this approach must be constantly questioned.
The world is a messy place. Yesterday's drawing are fantastical! For this they felt very soothing in the making. The middle one has the security of being upright and center-balanced. Who could ask for more? Who could ask for an easier solution to the pain of vulnerability? The two on the wings are not so simple. In each case I sought stability, but the way of finding it differs greatly. No.1 rocks back and forth, the left object leaning left, the two right objects leaning right. No.3 creates its space in a more complex manner, as shadows do not pay attention to a point source, but are invented in order to give the composition animation and interest. Of the three drawings, only No.3 has forms clearly reminiscent of our real world, as a cloud-like form hovers in the upper left and a two-eyed being is framed by a rectangle just right of center. Even the form, on which the vigilant creature resides, looks a bit like a stranded fish. Nice day. Sunny, perfect temperature, not too hot, not too cold: Goldilocks!
Drawings from 6/7/2015, both are pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
It is like I said yesterday, and the day before. I am involved in a search for relevant material to paint. I am, as a contemporary artist, caught between two demands. There is my need to find and illustrate personal myths. Also, there is my desire to accept, and participate, in the freedom of formal solutions open to today's visual artists. I wish to make work that is historically relevant by moving the formal qualities of painting forward through cross-examination and interrogation. My drawings are helping me creep and strip and fall to a reality that is mine.
It is beginning to feel more like contemplation and less like intellectualization. Yesterday's drawing shows me going back and forth between my contemplative-acting intuition and my question-asking intellect. The first drawing is me producing a casually flowing drawing, which ends with an intellectualized, verbal question. This conflict may exhibit problems that occur when the id and the ego are in combat. The second drawing is straightforwardly about combat. The transition from drawing #1 to drawing #2 may exhibit this mental confusion, but it may also be about the world's combative confusion. The strongly male component that instigates present world combat is apparent. Thus the extreme maleness of the figure in drawing #2. Artistically, the figure plays against an abstract background. This is more important to me than any contemporary, or classically mythological, message I am trying to convey.
BTW: Today's reproduction of the painting, Lava, is the closest I have gotten to the original. In yesterday's blog post, Lava's reproduction is too color intensive, i.e. it is more color saturated than the original.
Drawings from 5/24/2015, pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
Step after step after step... It is a long path I am taking. I continue to look for quicker ways to solve the problems which present themselves to me, but no quick and easy solutions offer themselves. This is the way I must be, because I can be no other way. At least, that is what I believe right now. But that will change. To make this more substance based, let me refer you to a quote from Joseph Campbell, the master examiner of human myths and mythology (see the quote after the reproductions of my work).
Yesterday's drawing took more than 3 hours. I believe it is a good one!
“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.”
I want to hurry, but I find I can only go as fast as my energy allows. Perhaps it is this problem that instigated yesterday's drawing. After I smacked you with my biggest fear, I went to the studio. Yesterday was a good day in the studio. The painting Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014 progressed well, and the drawing struck something basic to me (despite its rather flat, classically redolent composition, read right to left). I wrote about this primal worry in yesterday's post: I am afraid I will not have enough time to unravel all which I know and feel.
Well, well, well. Surprise me and I am happy. Yesterday a new painting began and I finished the drawing I started on 12-31-2013. Both make me happy. Both have substance and acceptance. Why should acceptance make me happy? Because it has been a long time coming. There is a wisdom out there which says education can tie you to the past. Perhaps I have been a victim of that circuitous problem. Here I am, stepping out, following my intuition and my authentic self. This is scary, as I have not seen these things before. There is security in making a painting that looks like one made by Pablo Picasso. The world has learned to look and to see Picasso's work as valid and meaningful, and this includes me. So I am a little nervous as I give up the valid works of the past and enter the new realm of me, myself, and the authenticity of now. I must bear with myself, and I ask you to do the same.
After the mythological world of birds, eggs, baseball, and clouds I returned to one of my oft used subjects: a man and a woman in a room. Today's blog post title poses questions. Verbal answers don't matter. I'll work this out though my art. Everything I make is me. So there!
Painting-08·29·2013 will be more about painting and drawing, while all other allegiances will subjugate themselves to my act of making this a first-rate visual statement! You can see this happening in yesterday's drawing too. The hands are much to large for the man, and various other human body-parts are bent to the will of the composition, yet the forms, and the space they inhabit, work together, in unison, to make formal, emotional, and compostional sense. Last weekend I saw an excellent version of Picasso's wonderful 1934 print Minotauromachy at the Hood Museum of Art on the Dartmouth College campus. Picasso work, more than that of any other artist, hits me, over and over again, with the intelligent and emotional sensation forced upon the viewer by a multi-layered, multi-faceted composition. His are compositions NOT dominated by any one formal restriction. This force in perception is as much to do with the arrangement of forms as it is to the reference of forms to those which we call real. Reality is that which we perceive in our daily walks through life, and art is the lie that makes us perceive reality more clearly (to paraphrase Picasso). Viewing Picasso's Minotauromachy helped make my quest very clear.
Where are these figures? Not in space I has seen. No matter, they fall from me, but not as freely as rain. This is a lot of work, paying attention to intuition. Still, it feels right not to be self critical. Each day brings surprises. I am surprised at who I am.
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.