Sometimes I feel like a desperate flattener. In the twentieth century the transition to flatness of the picture plane was so aggressive, beginning with Cezanne, and pushed to one possible ultimate conclusion by Jackson Pollack, that I sometimes succumb to this idiom. I don't believe that completely happened in yesterday's first drawing. In yesterday's second drawing I certainly reacted to the first drawing's central head, flattened, as it is, for composition's sake. Yesterday's second drawing is forcefully spheroidal. Enjoy the process!
This past week I have been doing a couple of things in earnest. First, and mostly, I have been drawing, using it to reassess the quality of my image-making and my form-making. Secondly, I have begun stretching the three canvases required for my next painting, a large triptych (side panels: 50X38 inches, central panel: 60X50 inches). Yesterday's drawing is rather unique in my oeuvre. It is a classical facade with strong volumes. I also believe there is a somewhat subdued, but very present, resurgence of a sense of humor that was present in much of my earliest figurative work.
After my recent flirtation with Modigliani I have returned to the painting Untitled Diptych-04·15·2014 with more clarity. Yesterday I worked on the man on the left. The composition is better. Increased clarity comes because I have accepted the conflict between shape and volume. Shapes are the nails that secure this painting's composition, while the volumes create the 3-dimensional reference to visual reality. The volumes also create a secondary compositional play as the viewer moves in and out, up and down, and through the forms.
Yesterday's drawings exhibit my continuing fascination with shape versus volume versus reference to visual reality. Yes, I have upped my desire to deal with this conundrum. So, today's title refers to the consequent increased richness of my work. I am asking myself more questions. I have more problems to solve. I have accepted an increase in the level of difficulty. Wow, I'm enjoying this!
This drawing was made in two isolated spurts. A couple of household problems arose, so my day was divided. Nevertheless, I am happy with this drawing because it reckoned with my recent flirtation with Modigliani and the competition in my work between shape and volume. Modigliani solved this problem in his own way, and now I am in the midst of solving it for myself. I love the artifice of volume on a two-dimensional surface. This has led me to the enjoyment of the art of people such as Amedeo Modigliani (who solved this problem in a peculiarly early 20th century manner), but also to the art of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) and Georges de La Tour (1593-1652).
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