The beginnings of Adjective are occurring simultaneously with the endings of Weoman. Weoman requires one more step: Its upper left needs to be refined; the line dividing light from dark has to be made firmly diagonal, clarifying itself as reactor to its opposite right-side edge. This step will create cogent, triangle-like negative space in the upper left corner and edge. Such a simple change will take minutes, yet it is very important to the final emblematic quality of this work.
I believe the beginnings of Adjective are going well. It is, as with all beginnings, dazed and confused. I like that; it requires me to pull solutions out of my creative hat. This is different than the endings of Weoman (and most endings), which require me to firm the creation that is already established. Beginnings are playful, endings more like work. My drawings tend to encapsulate the whole salami in a few hours, rather than the days for the transition, from play to work, that takes place in my paintings.
Here are a couple of drawings. Each with a lot of negative space, each with a few positive forms, and both with a feel of the third dimension. Such is life.
Too high a level of biomorphism bothers me. I believe strong biomorphism forces the viewer to think of animals and insects and extraterrestrial aliens (as depicted in films), rather than clear-sightedly being involved with composition, color, and forms. I want the viewer to visually dive into my art, be consumed by its reality. I don't want the viewer to think about external references. I want them to be here, now. Is this possible? Not completely. We all live in a world of forms and color. Our references are demanding, both intellectually and emotionally. Those who find spiders an emotional conundrum probably see a spider in "2016 No.14" (although it only has four appendages). I see a form stretching itself, forcing the space into three-dimensions. I am hoping this causes spatial tintinnabulation, making the absence of form ring, as if the air itself is alive. This is me trying to enliven the third-dimension of negative space on a two-dimensional plane.
A friend of mine recently completed his M.F.A. degree in Graphic Design. Most important to today's discussion is the information he imparted in his thesis, "Negative Space" (2016, Vermont College of Fine Arts, R.Schellens, author). I have always been conscious of the problems of negative space, so much so that I have often reduced those problems by clogging my works with forms and marks. Mr. Schellens' adamant opposition to this view is elegantly illustrated in the many works he reproduces in his thesis.
Yesterday, suddenly, drawing No.1 appeared. It startled me! In it, there is none of my standard definition of ground. This drawing avoids my oft used line to define the space that is the vertical background from the space that is the horizontal ground. This insight, coming as it is with negation, tells me that Richard Schellens deserves kudos for it! I also thank Mr. Schellens for his positive review of my painting "2016 No.11". It has been altered from the state he praised (reproduced in yesterday's post). This painting is now complete. I have now moved onto "2016 No.12", with lessons learned, and fight in me to get those lessons correctly acknowledged within this newest painting.
As I get closer to the completion of the painting Untitled Diptych-04·15·2014 I question my ability to be self-relevant. What a crock! No need! Yesterday I proceeded through my studio time with a drawing, then the painting, then a drawing. All the while I was asking myself about self-relevancy and the means to get there. In the painting I see figures that could be more expressively self-aware and self-relevant. I am probably wrong about this, but I do wish to make myself, and the viewer, experience the people in my art more powerfully than they experience the people in our world. I believe my people are becoming this, but not as fast as I would like. Leaning is described as a curve, like a graph. I agree with this idea. It is basically upward, but not consistently. Art's process is so complex that all problems can not be solved at once. The painting Untitled Diptych-04·15·2014 did solve a few of my problems, like how to animate the structure of time with still images, and how to use positive and negative space to more advantage. However, I do find the figures in Untitled Diptych-04·15·2014 more tame, and not as expressive, as those in yesterday's drawings. I am not going to take this as a failure, but as something inherent to the process. Even though I feel urgency, my art cannot immediately become all I imagine it must be. It is on a upward curve, but like the process of scientific discovery it is... two steps forward, one back, two step forward, one back, and on and on...
...negative space that is.
Yesterday's drawing continues my recent tradition of reacting with drawings which relate to the painting Untitled-03·19·2014. The negative space in that painting is formidable as well. In the painting a man sits on a chair. To me, the manner in which the chair's back right leg hits the floor is very satisfying. It establishes a spatial ground, as well as a color ground, and simultaneously points the attention to the female figure lying on her back. The diagonal play manufactured by this simple device is remarkably expressive. So, yesterday, when I began this drawing I began with the bench sitting squarely on the floor. It established the spatial-ness of the drawing without the use of lines to force the perspective (as I have done in the past ― e.g. the drawing Untitled-03·15·2014 posted on 03/16/2014). Very good, and a true insight.
I will say little today. I am back and feeling well after a couple days of feeling low with a cold. I just want to get back in the studio. Yesterday I did a drawing. You see it above. The possible potency of negative space is a concern I am now actively researching. I am not sure if the negative space in yesterday's drawing works extremely well here, but I think the figures are good.
What is it? Well, it is testing the play of negative space. It is also similar to a nonsense rhyme that manufactures a fairy tale. Actually, it is better described as me at play while seriously looking for a manner to make my forms on paper, and how best to distribute those forms on a flat rectangle. I like what I did with the feet in the lower left. The shoes read well and are nearly abstract. Enjoy! I did. I do. Thoroughly. That is unusual!
The last four drawings have surprised me. They have a mastery, one after the other, which I have not seen in my work before. Rockin'! Yes. But, No, they are not there yet. Nothing ever will be. I listened to an NPR Fresh Air interview with the Astro-Physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is about to host a series on FOX TV called It is an update of Carl Sagan's influential 1980 PBS series
"But my favorite question is one that we don't even know to ask yet because it's a question that would arise upon answering these questions I just delivered to you. ... If you're a scientist and you have to have an answer, even in the absence of data, you're not going to be a good scientist."
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.