Friday, November 5, 2010

Well now...

What shall we talk about today?
I think I'll go rummage around and get a picture and see what strikes my fancy:

"10-26-10" (charcoal, watercolor, ink)

I've always liked (Le Douanier) Henri Rousseau and this vegetation is straight out of his famous painting "The Dream" in The Museum of Modern Art in New York city. You know it; this one:
"The Dream" by Henri Rousseau, 1910, MoMA
Reproductions of this painting are in art classrooms across the world. Rousseau had an interesting career and I feel an affinity with his ambivalent relationship with his contemporaries and their more "learned" efforts that worked in the contentious dialectic succession of styles that fed the advent of Modernism in Europe at the turn of the 19th Century. Artists like Picasso needed Rousseau to bolster their claim on the native force of the undomesticated imagination. Rousseau craved their attention and relative legitimacy.

I say this not to denigrate Rousseau. I would hope to elevate him (or rather, what he represents for me). The issues that animate the art world are generally pretty small and pretty elitist. I'm certainly not immune to these kinds of topics and dissections. But, truthfully, at the end of the day, what you do as an artist is make a representation of something that made an impression on you and, if you're lucky, it reaches other people and there's a little mental or emotional moment of communion. The picture has to stand on its own. Do you like it or not? Knowing the context or even the textual foundations is great but in the end, I believe that artifacts are frequently stripped of their context. The work should quickly get about its business. Lasting art does this effectively, respectfully (not necessarily politely!) and without apologies or dependence on outside supports.

Well, that's enough blog-blather from this boy. Here's another few doodles from my sketchbook.
Have a good day and visit soon.

The elephant in the room


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