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!
Chemistry and Physics students are taught of the oppositeness of electrons and positrons — these particles are equal in all ways, size, mass, charge, except their charges are opposite. The positron is the antiparticle, or the antimatter counterpart, of the electron. The positron has an electric charge of +1 e, a spin of 1/2 (the same as the electron), and has the same mass as an electron. When a positron collides with an electron annihilation is the result; this annihilation produces two or more photons. It is these photons I am trying to create. The photon is a type of elementary particle. It is the quantum of the electromagnetic field, including electromagnetic radiation such as light and radio waves, and photons are the force carrier for the electromagnetic force. Photons are massless; they always move at the speed of light in vacuum. I am trying to move you, the viewers of my art, at the speed of light, with the force of photons. Yesterday I took another step toward this objective. Both the painting, and the drawing, I show today are quickly forceful because they harness the emotional effectiveness of positive versus negative space.
Unravelling continues... This process is linear; it is forward, step by step, with an occasional backtrace to double check it all makes sense. This feels good. It is rewarding. There were times when I wondered if my great efforts were worth their enormous dilution of time. Effort is worth it. I know better with each mark and stroke. Yesterday's efforts continue to look to negative space as emotional conductor. I want my viewers to feel my work as I feel it.
In a few days you will see a new page on my website, MEHRBACH.com. It will become my Catalogue Raisonné. I have prepared its first four reproductions. Henri Matisse once quipped something like this: "If you ever get confused, go and look at your earliest works. They will instruct you, they will teach you your real interests." That is exactly the effect the beginnings of my Catalogue Raisonné are having on me. I now understand the reason the art of Ellsworth Kelly is driving me. It is purity of emotional statement; it sings beautifully, speaks honestly, to me — I understand it; I want to emulate those deep, profound emotions that Ellsworth Kelly reveals in his work.
Yesterday I took another step toward my personal panorama; these are direct, emotional statements, but not as purely emotional as I know I can achieve. Negative space, as a felt, instructive substance, is becoming one of my goals.
Three Paintings by Ellsworth Kelly
"Look!" I am becoming exceptionally aware of negative space; inside and outside of negative space reside emotions, power, profundity, and intellectual clarity.
I am going to post regularly to Instagram, again.... I am carl_mehrbach on Instagram. Instead of posting to Instagram as parallel to these Blog Posts, I will be using Instagram as an on-the-go, show-you-my-process, site. I will be posting while in my studio; works will be shown in process; albeit relatively poor reproductions compared to the refined ones you see here and on my official website.
Yesterday's drawing was a leap for me. It does playful things with negative space. I feel inspired and energized; very deeply mindful. Finding playfulness in process feels excellent!
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.
I am working hard to feel myself through my drawings, one contemplative mark by one contemplative mark. This is a grandiose effort. It requires mindfulness beyond anything I have experienced before. The forms themselves, made by marks of a pencil, are just a portion of the self-empathic problem I am making an effort to solve; the space between each mark, and the space between each form, carries enormous empathetic weight. To fully engage the meaningfulness of this journey is daunting. These drawings are the beginning of very special art; I am beginning to make art as communication of nuanced, momentary feelings, to myself, and to those who view my art. My art is becoming a true record of my living, feeling, thinking, learning, and making.
The drawing I post today exhibits an intellectual and emotional jump. Here are kinetics, here are all kinds of space, from three dimensional and two dimensional space to negative and positive space. This drawing encounters every sort of space a viewer can perceive.
I am acutely aware of my failure to use negative space most effectively. I become acutely aware of my failure when I view master drawings, such as those of Philip Guston's (now on view at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City). Philip Guston happened to be my most important mentor. I studied with Guston for two years at Boston University (MFA 1979).
Awareness of negative space is awareness of one's own personal, emotional space. Visual emotional communication is marks on blank paper or blank canvas. The emotional communication occurs by variation of marks and forms, and by the space left between those marks and forms. My drawing from yesterday does not do this poorly, but it is not as potently communicative as I want it to be. I failed to fully succeed because I did not effectively describe the stress between forms and marks; consequently this drawing does not feel as much as I feel.
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