There is a lot of art being made today that is plain vanilla. It is what is expected. Perhaps it has always been this way. The vast majority of artists have always repeated that which is given them. They follow the present day cultural norm. In many cases it is good art. It exudes the dictums of well known principles. Not every person can do this. It takes talent. Thus is the separation of the talented academic from the common artist. I am hoping I am not simply an academically talented artist. I am hoping I am the artist who sees the making of pictures as an experiment in wonder. Thus appears the risks I took yesterday. I am aiming at substance discovered, not substance known. I believe the painting 2017 No.9 is made as discovery. I have never seen anything like it before. It speaks truth to me. That is its importance.
Yesterday's drawing also surprises me. Even though it feels mostly made from formula. There are five standing objects. All on solid ground: normal space, punctuated by forms. In spite of this normalcy, these forms have interesting qualities. Each is well drawn. The viewer perceives all sides of them, even the surfaces that are in deep shadow, This is an academic success! It proves there is validity in art made mundanely. I may have written disparagingly of this kind of art in the first paragraph of today's post, but here is a drawing saying OK.
This activity is a little like making sausage: take some meat, add a little spice, some filler, and gadzooks, what do you got? I am thinking about the final state of the painting "2017 No.3", posted yesterday. Gadzooks! It's a finished product! I have begun anew. Here comes the painting "2017 No.4"! It appears that I am seeking daunting solidity, i.e., an image that forces the viewer to believe its presence is substantial, that one must pay attention. You can also see this pursuit in yesterday's drawings.
From whence comes impulses? Do I follow them? Am I wary of narcissism? Or, are these impulses effectively communicative of emotional and intellectual normalcy? The test may be comparison to historically effective decisions and historically effective results. I am unsure. In the heat of making art I can only comprehend that which feels justified, right now. The painting "2017 No.2" looks finished to me. I will look again when in the studio. Art-making is the search for normalcy. Normalcy is substantial. Abnormalcy gets immediate reaction, immediate attention, but has no long lasting substance. Of course, I want my work to sit in front of viewers with so much to say as to be enduringly communicative.
Big surprise today: I feel yesterday's work has great substance.
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