Posts Tagged ‘painting’

Sacred & Profane 2013

October 22, 2013

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Sacred & Profane 2013

Daylight Metal

September 9, 2013

Daylight Metal

Village, Lucky, Deluge, Surface

Can I Get A Witness?

May 8, 2010

Listening to “Someone Else’s Song” makes me want to sing and write a melody.  It makes me want to author something similarly enjoyable, but sprung from my own well.  Of late, in viewing my work, questions of my authorship have arisen.  Sometimes i by-pass or give away authorship to encompass ideas other than my own or to shine light on things that hold my attention.   These are things that are not birthed by me, rather stumbled across due to what one might consider good timing and looking.  Perhaps, i imagine i have good timing and really i should focus on my own beat, but how hard it is to ignore the rhythms being made — by others — all around!

As i catch myself thinking about these things, imagining my good fortune to be actual and the random beauty i encounter to be real, i begin to wonder how and why i need to differentiate between something that is an influence and something that is “purely” my creation. To separate the question of authorship into my own and others — outside and inside — seems very clear and very opaque at the same time.  Yes, my hands made this, i was looking at something outside of myself, but it filtered through my insides.  Yes, my hands made this, i was thinking about something inside, and this is how i chose to mediate that thought.

Getting caught thinking like this, evaluating whether something impacted my results or whether i alone impacted my results makes me cringe. How impossible it is to claim that I ALONE DID THIS.  We all aspire to be self reliant and DIY is all the rage, but we never can really get the whole process to be made by our hands alone.  Someone else makes our materials, something/one else delivers insight, light shines to present things we never saw before, we are not islands and homogeneous authenticity seems to be a dream.

My attempts to be authentic, to put something of myself out there is questionable, although it is what i am constantly striving to do.  What i mean by questionable is that how can ever one really produce something without questioning where it came from? I find things inside i want to hide,  and i filter parts of me i want to use out to a distilled form.  By no means am i censoring myself, but i am totally watching what comes out closely and removing parts that i don’t want to show.

I find most things inside are constantly touched by whats happening outside of me.  I try to claim authenticity and end up whispering uncertainly; does the water not get credit?  the light? the atmosphere of where i stood, the direction i looked, the rocks? the people i was with? When is it JUST me?  I think about someone like Forrest Bess and how he did not feel responsible for his work, how he felt he was simply a conduit.  He painted “ideograms” — visions he saw on the inside of his eyelids — and lived a solitary existence painting on an island off of Texas as a “visionary”, a supposed translator of his unconscious.  This kind of artist intrigues me as sometimes i believe i can or i want to create images similarly, but i don’t see things on the inside of my eyelids.  Things are too puzzling for me for that type of painting and i question what i remember and what i have seen too much.  I feel responsible to what i have witnessed.  I may evaluate inaccurately, forget important details or become adamant about inconsequential parts, but I don’t lie, and i do believe new significance is created simply by admission of a view.

Opening up my practice into larger spaces (coming from the smallness of a home, a studio, an island) and trying to retain that smallness is the motivator to expand.  Not being able to disentangle things is native to tight spaces.  This is how it feels inside me when i think about where what i make comes from — uptight.  Surely this is not an individual feeling, getting right back to being in-authentic.  We are constantly doing battle with our small spaces and trying to let loose.  It’s in attempt to manage these interior spaces and carry on without dragging that i make things, i paint, i take a picture, i look around me, i let something out, or let something in that will loosen me up.

Last week i was fearful and fretting about how i might keep dragging, how i might not be able to pick it up.  However, there’s nothing like a good quick phone conversation driving north in the car with an old friend to have them remind me, “Yeah, but you work well under pressure.  You’re funny in tight spots”  I replied that I’m unpredictable, i mean I don’t even know what i’m going to do next.  The simple confidence of a friend, a nudge from the outside, was a calming and helpful affect on my insides.  Thank You Mary Anne.  How can I not be moved?

Painting To Be Completed:

April 23, 2010

*Logo Tapestry

*Kites

*ICE CUBE STUCK

*Consignment Forms email

*WHITE INTERIOR WALLS

Millet – The Angelus

January 27, 2010

Rob brought up this painting last night before we all went out to see Darien Brahms play at Port City Music Hall. (She played Green Valentine for Cole)! We barely talked about the subject matter: Man and woman in a field, bent over, revering a basket. We mostly talked about how it was painted and why? Why?! Rob was interested in our thoughts on what could inform a painter to paint a particular way.  In this example with smooth, sharp, realistic execution, joined to a broken up, disparate, playful display of woven color. I am predisposed to the latter disparate way of making marks, a way of showing the world as being anything other than smooth, yet still fluid. So i quickly reacted to the replication in Rob’s art history book as beholden of valid ways of seeing the world with your own eyes.

I imagine the bottom and sides of the painting to be executed differently from the center and top because of our own eyes inability to focus on the periphery. The sharpness falls on our focus, our subject, the people we are looking at. The surrounding areas inevitably fall off and are recreated in pieces because they are not the focus of light or of our vision, but are still being molded into appearing by the light. I went all the way to say that painting something in a situation that is more direct to the actual light source depicted in your painting makes it a better painting. I know, i say things like this in very limited company, and then write down the word “better” here. Don’t know if i really want to say that, but lets just put it our there, and now talk about what Rob brought this painting to our attention for.

Rob and Cole had talked about the piece briefly before, they noted The Angelus as being a painted work displaying evidence of strong influences of photography. Cole agreed with Rob that Millet was depicting a vision that was not seen before photography. They thought that the way the periphery is painted — blurry, broken up, less focused — is indicative of a camera’s ability to re-present the world. In other words, the camera begins to show things as somewhat vignetted as a lens is rounded. They speculated that Millet surely looked into a camera obscura and had access to the technologies of the day which could re-present a scene in this way. No one spoke of the painting being made FROM a photograph, simply that it had the potential to have been INFLUENCED by a photograph.

The great and complicated relationship painting has to photography still eludes me in definition. Its helpful to be a part of a conversation like this. Its helpful to remember dates and times of advancement in sight. Its helpful to talk about the medium’s respective differences and also to note when we see them coming together to create a singular vision, like we presume they are in The Angelus. Recognizing when one is exposed to technologies which help us record and re-present the world help us to understand the trajectory painting has taken to get to now. Things that have never been seen before begin to show in Millet’s example of multiple ways of seeing the world. A way that shows us the beginning of a painter’s — an artist’s — ability to make a version of the world which includes multiple perspectives, not disproportional re-presentations, but more than one way of seeing in one thing.

Either way you break it down — as a personal vision or as a way of seeing perpetuated by photography — there exists an undeniable admittance that photography did exist at the moment in time this painting was made. Chronologically reassuring us that photography was accessible.   It also reminds us that painting has a strong ability to evolve and incorporate different ways of seeing the world into itself in order to connect with a viewer. An ability to take different views and impart, coerce, weave, collect, relate, multiple impressions to show a clear singular thought and vision.