I am encountering an expected major problem for an artist with my propensities. How do I integrate the background with the robust forms I create in the foreground? This is a problem because of my natural desire to create sculptural forms. Why don't I just make sculpture? I tried that. I did not like it. It takes too much time to manipulate large forms, as well as enormous studio space and enormous cost. There is also color. I love color. I also love to control and manipulate light. Playing with light crossing forms is so much more direct in drawing and painting than in sculpture. So, here I am. I must deal with the inherent two-dimensionality of canvas or paper as I produce artificially drawn three-dimensional forms. To make the actual 2D work well with the artifice of 3D is not an easy task. It took Cezanne a lifetime. I am committed to this. It looks like abstract forms may allow me to research more directly with this 2D/3D problem than having to worry about the efficacy and meaning of actual forms, human or otherwise. At least, that is how I feel today.
The Right Peat Moss?
Drawings from 11/29/2015, pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
I have surprised myself with new images, and also the joy of laying down graphite on a textured surface. The paper is the same paper used in yesterday's drawing. The images are vastly different. From where come these images? One possible connection: Yesterday a photo was sent to me by a friend (in an email I opened before going to the studio). The photo shows a strange room in Silicon Valley with people walking amongst floating spheres. The spheres are white with black circles on them (the ceiling, floor, and wall are red with black circles). Unlike my drawings, the spheres do not inhabit the people (people are walking among the spheres). Influence? Perhaps. Most important is my product. These drawings are different than anything I have produced in recent memory. They started differently, were processed differently, and ended differently. I am exhilarated by their inventiveness.
A note about today's reproductions: Both drawing are on the same textured paper. The paper's surface color on the first drawing is closer to its actual color. I did not white balance my camera prior to photographing the second drawing, nor did I change the lighting.
Accepting art-making as contemplation.
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
Rough and tumble.
Who knew? Not me. This stuff I am making looks well defined, but still rough. Rough? Yes, because I am grasping at a set of images that are tumbling around in my confused, yet open, psyche. Art is where the anima and the persona meet. My persona never feels quite right, as if there is a little fake going on, like a running back, whose goal is clear, but whose path in getting there in not. Maybe the reason football is so much fun to watch is its clarity of goal. Art? Not so much! Watching me flail around is probably more fun for you then for me. There are days, like today, that I seriously question my means of getting "there", wherever "there" is.
Perhaps it is exactly what you think!
I am playing for real. My basic endeavor is to visually reproduce all I do, know, and see. I am not talking about actual "seeing," but the internalization of "seeing." I think it is working out. I am slow, consistent, and I believe, true to myself. How do I know? I am hoping the art I make is exactly what I know. I also hope it communicates my discovery of the internal workings on my reflections upon existence. Yesterday I listened to a "TED Hour" podcast about Abraham Maslow's hierarchical pyramid of human needs. The base is sleep, the second level is food and shelter. These two essential needs have not been a subject of my art. The next three levels have been subjects: security (safety), human relationship (love), and problem solving (purpose). It is interesting to me that my mentor, Philip Guston, made paintings about ALL five of Maslow's human needs, including food and sleep (which I show below today's reproductions of my work).
The confusion & clarity of candor.
I am feeling confused around the edges. I have been called to jury duty, beginning next week. It feels like my life has lost a bit of its freedom. My passion to freely explore is the main reason I chose art as a career and life-style. I have no idea how the jury system works, but I will be on-call for two months, March and April. I tell you this without too many details because it is the psychological effect of my not being totally in charge of my time that is already affecting my art. While in process, the drawings shown today felt this confusion. I show Drawing #2 first because its candor more obviously shows my confusion. Drawing #1 exhibits a loss of center, as I fall back to drawing a couple, which I am apt to do when I do not clearly feel the ground beneath my art-making impetus. I am hoping the Court System is kind to me and does not take me far away from the art I am in the process of making. I truly feel that I am currently tapping into a wellspring of personally soulful content. My reluctance to give up my daily work, in lieu of my obligation to the government, is weighing on me. I do not want to dwell on this too much. I will do that which I must do, because I do not have a choice. It's like death and taxes.
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