I have often referred to the feigning of the third dimension on a two-dimensional surface as artifice. Here is it again, in a new painting, and in a new drawing; both are products of yesterday's studio session. The painting is aptly entitled "Clever Liars"; its third-dimension is a lie. My quotation is an old one, one with no known author. The idea is "details" diminish the cleverness of a lie. Too many details in a lie diminish its acceptance in marriages, business, and politics, not so in art. The more detail in a drawing, or a painting, the more the viewer accepts the artifice. If you don't believe me, or if you don't see this in the work I post today, view the 2014 watercolor painting by Anselm Kiefer, below; you can feel your eye fall into Kiefer's painting, scoping back until the eye hits the artifice that appears to be a sunset.
This use of the third dimension is very important to me. I find an image which engages the viewer because it insists upon being seen with a third-dimension, a grandly accepted lie; the lie of depth on a flat plane, forces the viewer to think actuality, i.e., the viewer has an additional incentive to believe the image before them mimics reality. They fall into the artwork as people fall into a con job. I have been told the greatest cons are those the "mark" believe they have determined to benefit themselves; the mark determines they will benefit by causing a loss to the con-artist; the "stooge" thinks the "grifter" does not understand how he, the "confidence man," will lose when the "sucker" goes ahead and takes the bait.
FYI: A confidence trick is also known as a con game, a con, a scam, a grift, a hustle, a bunko (or bunco), a swindle, a flimflam, a gaffle, or a bamboozle. The intended victims are known as marks, suckers, stooges, mugus, rubes, or gulls (from the word gullible). When accomplices are employed, they are known as shills.
I am trying to be straightforwardly honest in this Age of Denial. Denying has become an art form. Materially, Art is Real, but it speaks a language that is a step away from the reality it depicts. I am experiencing reality as I make art: I feel, I live, I experience; thus my Art is a depiction of reality; it is born in realness.
Yesterday's drawing was born out of my need to be "in your face," to be straightforward. I wished to depict space of little depth, keeping the artifice of a third-dimension to a minimum. I began with a question. This drawing is one answer. The other idea was one of robust contrast: more angular objects on the left are in contrast to more curvaceous ones on the right. (Of course, there is light versus dark too!)
This strange and wonderful painting, 2017 No.8, is springing up with this season of newness. It is many things. It is new. It portends a lot of labor. It is eclectic, and referential. This is not an easy spring! It is a reflection of many things known, such as patterns that force the third-dimension, and zigzags that do that too! Yesterday's drawing is, perhaps, also a plant-like reference to this season.
I will write as little as possible today... because I am running hard trying to catch this new year's demands. There is more than just art, you know? My art is going well, so even more reason to go and do it AS SOON AS POSSIBLE !!! One comment (I can't contain myself): the new painting is exhibiting a new-for-me, rolling across it, artifice of the third dimension.
Everyone who has ever done art-making knows there is no straight line path. It is one step backward for (perhaps) each step and a half forward. Getting to know is hard work. I wish it were easier. Saying this brings me to yesterday's drawings. They have two new "looks". By using a couple of forms impinging on one another, No.1 spills the viewer into the drawing's artifice of three-dimensions. The forms cast shadows, which also helps this 3D-ness. Larger forms in the foreground force the third-dimension upon the viewer. In drawing No.2 the movement is up, not so much in. The small form at the bottom, rounded with shadows emphasizing its roundness, helps the three-dimensional look of the entire drawing, introducing (as it does) the 3D-effect at the bottom of the page, which is then carried by the viewer into entire page.
There is something right about yesterday's drawings. Today I will futher explore this direction. I have become tired of the overall, fill-the-page, approach. Pages emotionally require openess. Clearly, there must be contrast, open space in contrast to the forms. This contrast is necessary to emotionally drive the substance of the overall image.
Yesterday was a day of distraction. I never really got rolling in the studio. I am in the midst of expanding my social media presence, which is not as straight forward as I had thought. For one thing, I did not know Instagram is a totally portable-device driven platform, for smartphones and tablets. I was not prepared, but I will be. Me on Instagram is coming! Actually I am on Instagram, but nothing is there because I don't have a device to put it there. This will change by the end of this week. I will tell you when you will be able to view me on Instagram.
For now I am exhilarated with my progress. Yesterday produced an exciting drawing, despite the distraction caused by my efforts to contemporize my social interaction. I invented a new approach. The drawing shown here has a couple of flat-ish complex forms in the background and a snake-like, U-shape form in the foreground. It animates both laterally, and also into and out of the artifice that is the third-dimension. This energetic visual movement is important to me. I enjoy the eye being given the thrill of a rollercoaster ride.
BTW: My Facebook page is up and running!
I am driving my newest painting forward, s-l-o-w-l-y. In a few of my recent paintings I have fear I have not adequately balanced atmospheric color with local color. Since I adamantly adhere to the artifice of the third-dimension, this paying attention to balance of color, real and imagined, must be done. I am not, after all, just playing with color relationships. I am trying to do everything a painting can do; form, color, composition, all in harmony, and all speaking with emotional resonance.
My drawings continue to experiment with the use of a repetitive form to drive 3D space.
This was a week of self-intimacy. Everything I did led to self-acceptance. This can be seen in drawing after drawing. Even the newest painting forced me to accept my basic impulses and interests. I write "even the new painting" because when one looks at this painting my insight is not obvious. What you don't see is how its failure, particularly in the background's lack of rapport with the foreground forms, hit me like a hammer on the intellect. It screams, "This ain't right!" So the obvious problem is me versus the structure with which I must work. The actual structure is two-dimensional, but the visually, emotive structure I place on the 2D paper or canvas is invigorated by its three-dimensionality. I have pointed out in this week's posts, as I referenced Masters like Cezanne and Monet, that I am not alone with this dichotomy. There are models out there, created through lifetimes of work. This brings me squarely into my self-importance. It is important that I pursue this problem which I have begun to address. It is important because it has become incontrovertible that this is the manner I must use to express who I am, the way I see, the way I feel. Yesterday's drawing took another jab at it. I felt exhausted by the end of my studio session, which tells me this has been a week of enervating insights. I am proud, but not happy or satisfied. I have faced the challenge, accepted it as true. There is a vast amount of work to be done!
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.
This drawing is more "head-on" than I have been making recently. Even my last few paintings read more like landscapes, or room-scapes, then facades. This reminds me of Claude Monet's artistic development (see three examples below). Early in Monet's career he was very interested in the third-dimension of the landscape, as in "The Road from Chailly to Fontainebleau" (1864). By mid-creed Monet was making facade-like paintings, as in "Rouen Cathedral" (1882). Monet concluded his career making absolute facades, as in his many paintings of "Water Lilies" (1919).
I am thinking about facades versus 3D-scapes because I am trying to work through this inherent conflict in picture-making. Yesterday's drawing is more a facade than the drawings from the previous day. I mentioned Monet development, but the "Father of Modern Art", Paul Cezanne, instinctively understood painting as facade. Even his earliest work screams with "I am flat" (after Monet's work, see Paul Cezanne's "Orchard in Pontoise" from 1877, Cezanne died in 1906). To conclude, the flat plane forces an artist to deal with a picture's ultimate insistence on two-dimensional composition. I am working out this dichotomy within my artistic nature. I definitely have a problem to solve, given my propensity for manufacturing the third-dimension while scratching and feeling the surfaces of rendered forms.
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