The force of my will made this one. It is apropos of my need to grab your attention, grab my attention. I center you, I center me, by using strong vertical forms. Somehow, when I was finished with this drawing, I was reminded of Picasso's "Crucifixion" from 1930. I believe it to be one of Picasso's most remarkable works, different as it is in color, space, and forms from anything else Picasso. Yes, in this crucifixion there is relationships to everything Picasso had done, and would do, but Picasso's approach here is quite different. The viewer is centered by the light-valued blue of the Christ figure and his distraught mother. After this centering, the viewer can wander, be continuously surprised by the complete animation, the literal references, within the composition, one after the next. My drawing is simpler, yet equally haunting.
This bring me to the question of background. There is blank paper in my drawing. Does that work? I usually like to touch every surface. I usually feel the need to identify every part of my paper's surface as part of my space, my time, and my composition. That did not happen in this drawing's background. Does it work? There is a bold, forceful grab here: the viewer is captured by strong, vertical forms, I do believe the white paper ground serves its contrasting purpose. I see the white as definitive space; it is the flat plane in front of which the rest of the composition resides. Notice how Picasso dealt with his background and the negative space; four flat colored areas: blue, yellow, orange, red. Is the viewer bothered by these unidentifiable spaces? No! Instead the multiple compositionally positive forms grab and install the viewer within the composition. The forms are strong enough to support the vague spaces and surfaces Picasso's flat colors depict.
This drawing looks better here, in reproduction, than in person. That is unusual. Perhaps it is the up close and personal perusal that brings intimacy to this confusing image; confusing in person, intimate in reproduction? Yes? In any case, I believed I had failed to accomplish my goal. I wished to make every stroke of this pencil drawing relate to every other stroke. I wished the negative and the positive spaces to emote with, and against, one another. Here, in reproduction, I believe I approached my goals. Here, the viewer sees the obvious centering of this composition. The strong center allows the repetitive surrounding swelling forms to sing a tune in harmony, a tune that is the bass beat behind the main theme.
What am I doing? I am looking carefully at the space between the lines, the negative space. I am filling the page with carefully considered forms, forms created by pencil lines. These lines, inherently, leave gaps between one another. These gaps are emotional spaces, ones that create light and darkness, good and evil. My current research is investigation into the emotional satisfaction, personal self-expression, that I may obtain from the space between the lines.
There is something special about this drawing. Excellent Drawing! Perhaps it is its robust use of the page, its vibrant use of the negative space, its dramatic contrasts in forms and in value. Whatever it is, it is definitely another step forward.
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!
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