Friday, August 8, 2008

a bit after 10 at night... a very productive couple of days. i ended up pulling out the second virgin canvas this morning and now it's nearing some sort of completion. that makes 2 works that are looking strong and standing for themselves. maybe not... i've tossed myself into the void for this work. why not?? no sales of late, so fuck it. and there are the drawings back in brooklyn to back this adventure up. so now, the drawings have begat the paintings. and i must say, i'm very happy. for now. the work is rather harsh-- spontaneous and organic. as formal as the drawings seemed to me, these works are pushing the painterly edge. there is the formal structure, the geometry, if you will, but beyond that the space abutting the rectangular forms is violent with the rigor of paint and gesture. the drawings (at their best) were brought together from the formal structures as well as the incidental activity about the margins-- the dusting of charcoal; the fingerprints; the shots of liquid pigment... now that activity has been replaced by the trowel of gesso dragged across the canvas; the hammer of the brush; the harsh caress of sandpaper.

i sat under the orange tree, sipping a california red, trying to understand what i had brought about in these 2 or 3 days. i spent a bit of time photographing the work, but too much was lost to really make that count for anything. these works, as they stand, must be considered in the flesh. in general, as i've stated numerous times, abstract painting cannot be taken as fodder for reproduction or documentation. by the very nature of the medium, painting of an abstract nature (or, indeed, painting as a whole) must be confronted in the most intimate of viewings. sadly, thats not always possible.... regardless, i'm thinking that this work might be my strongest to date. it seems that the concerns of my preceding bodies of work are being addressed here and brought forward to a mature reasoning. so much of my past output has been refined and re-worked and refind again. i'll always stand by that work, but right now, this seems a more honest and athletic offering. perhaps the battle between influences has been decided, or smoothed out. there (has) is always the tension between the romance of pollock and the intellect of newman and (romance as well) rothko. much of the work on these paintings was done while they lay in the grass by the pool, outside the studio. the brush didn't hover over the canvas (dripping), it slapped down onto it and then moved accordingly, some of the trail left behind, some wiped away after its use had run dry...

under the orange tree, with a glass of wine, i mused that the most important thing to do is to actually look at a painting-- to see it and study it, bringing it into your conciousness. the reality of seeing a painting-- really looking at and seeing a painting, should be an active, wholly involved endeavor. the time must be set aside and relished... a quiet, profound slice of the day before or behind us, just looking... sitting and looking.

1 comment:

Rico said...

This post is exciting and electric and I look forward to seeing the pictures. I was visiting a gallery in Asheville this morning and had many of the same thoughts about abstract painting. In my own work I grapple with ideas about proximity and how most galleries allow far too much room to back away. I'm thinking about looking at a Pollock in MoMa many years ago at the retrospective and not being able to stand back. The wonderful unendingness of being so close to paint on surface and not being able to get any bearings. Yeah, it's confrontational and raw, even Rothko has that aggressive sense if one looks at it, a deep anger that at times could only produce a whisper of hue or subtle gesture towards form.
Thanks for the comments and keep up the fight.