First let us look at my work. Then we will look at "The World's Worst Painting." Unlike Donald Trump, I will not simply call this painting an inflammatory name. I will tell you exactly why I believe it to be a very bad painting.
My work from yesterday
Knowing is like falling down a sinkhole. You don't know where you are going to end up. You do know if the slip, the slide, and the fall, feel right, or wrong. Yesterday "it felt right." It is like the trail of a coffee bean, from tree to brewed cup. There are many possible routes. Only one route will make the best cup of coffee. Unfortunately that route is rarely taken. I am trying to go the best route. I am learning to know. I am learning to react quickly to missteps. It is in the acting, the reacting, and the acting again, that makes a quality painting. "2016 No.2" may be finished. Yesterday's drawings are also a result of this iterative process. If you like baseball analogies, here's one: I have been practicing my swing. The drawings are practice. But the real game is in the painting. Yesterday I got closer to the most efficient way to hit the ball in order to make it move where is serves itself best. It is in the light, the form, and the composition. It is the translation of paint into energy of light on form and space. This is my acceptance. This is the place I want to be.
Back to the sinkhole analogy: I began this quest not knowing what I wanted, or why I wanted it. I jumped in because I wanted something. After a multitude of drawings and paintings I finally acknowledged that which is important, that which I seek in the jump and fall. Here it comes... Yesterday's work tells it well. It is not about the human face or figure. It is about touching the very energy within seeing. Energy clarifies nuance. This is the world we live in. Visual perception is our primary response to inhabiting this world. Replication of actual objects is not most important. Definable objects, by their unequivocal interpretation, distract from the essence of reality. Truth is perceived in the energy. That is where the visual is authentic and has lasting meaning.
The World's Worst Painting
After my extended discussion above, about the energy of light revealing form and composition, I show you the negative of the this. These paintings by Eric Aho, now on view at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, are black holes without light. They suck away energy. They place a misconstrued black rectangle in front of the viewer. There is nothing there but black. These "black holes" are, perhaps, interesting to astronomers. They are, however, devoid of truth. These paintings are called "Ice Cuts". I acknowledge, I am talking from my viewpoint. There are paintings in major museums which are also devoid of the energy of light and form. They too exhibit black holes, devoid of meaning. Painting is about meaning. If one paints black as black then it is nothing but black. No reference is made. No story is told. It is absence itself. It is not about life and living. If it does not discuss life and living, than why does it exist? Art is about life and living.
Let me show you a great painting that uses black, pure black, the same pigment as seen in Eric Aho's "Ice Cuts". Take a look at Claude Monet's "The Grenouillère". In contrast to Aho's painting, Monet's painting energizes the viewer with light and life. Monet's "The Grenouillère" is reproduced immediately after Eric Aho's work.
I end this discussion with reproduction of another miserable painting. It too has a black hole. This painting is famous, at least in Boston. It is by John Singer Sargent. Like Aho, over and over again, in painting after painting, Sargent did not see well. He used black as black, not as a harbinger of light. It is terribly annoying to see its misuse. It sickens me, perhaps because it feels like death. There is nothingness there. With Monet, black sings light, energy, and form.
To read my profile go to MEHRBACH.com.
At MEHRBACH.com you may view many of my paintings and drawings, past and present, and see details about my life and work.